(WCIA) — Eastern Illinois University softball will be heading to the NCAA Softball Tournament for the first time in program history after a 2-0 win over SIUE Saturday at the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship.
Olivia Price was named tournament MVP, pitching her third complete game of the tournament with a two-hit shutout performance in the title game, including six strikeouts and no walks. EIU scored in the bottom of the third and fourth.
In the third inning, Rachel Kaufman rallied the Panthers with a single to get the bats going. Lindy Milkowski followed with a walk. Then, Amber Cieplinski drove in the first run of the game after a single off the fence in left center.
Next inning, EIU’s Marama Makea led off with a single, scoring off a sacrifice fly by Jaylen Prichard to put the Panthers up 2-0.
EIU improved to 34-19 overall and will find out its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday evening with the NCAA Selection Show on ESPN2.
SIUE ends the season at 30-26. Sydney Baalman (17-9) suffered the loss with a complete game for the Cougars. Micah Arps and Sherri Mason has the SIUE hits.
Price improved to 16-4 on the year. Kaufman, Cieplinski, Makea and Henke had hits for EIU.
EIU had four players named to the All-Tournament team with MVP Price, Cieplinski, Aniya Holt and Kendall Grover.