The University of Missouri-St. Louis women’s softball team advanced to the winner’s bracket of the 2014 Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship Tournament, thanks to a pair of shutout wins over Illinois-Springfield and Truman State, Friday afternoon at the EastSide Centre softball complex in Peoria, Ill.
The two victories, a 1-0 pitcher’s duel win over UIS in the tournament opener and a 5-0 longball fest, which featured three UMSL home runs, against Truman, earned the second-seeded Tritons a matchup with No. 4 seed Bellarmine on Saturday, with the winner earning an automatic bid into the GLVC Tournament championship round on Sunday.
UMSL, the defending GLVC champions, would need just one more win on Sunday to clinch their second straight league title, if it can get past Bellarmine on Saturday. First pitch at the EastSide Centre is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Should the Tritons (43-6) fall in their matchup against the Knights (36-14), Bellarmine would advance to the championship round, while UMSL would have to play a second game Saturday night, against the surviving team from the loser’s bracket.
The winner of that contest would advance to Sunday’s championship round needing to defeat Bellarmine twice on Sunday to claim the GLVC crown.
On Friday, it was UMSL’s usual crew of stars who once again shined the brightest.
Two-time GLVC Pitcher of the Year, Hannah Perryman, was simply brilliant in delivering a 1-0 eight-inning, complete-game shutout win over UIS.
The sophomore from Streamwood, Ill., allowed just two hits and struck out 18 batters, including the last four Prairie Star hitters she faced.
But it wasn’t until junior first baseman Brianna Butler cranked a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth, that Perryman and the Tritons could claim victory and move on to the next round.
For Butler, the homer was her 12th of the season, which set a new UMSL single-season record and also made her the first Triton player with 30 home runs in their college career.
In the nightcap against Truman, Butler blasted a two-run shot in the fifth inning, giving her 13 on the season and now 31 total dingers in her career.
Fellow junior Jena Boudreau provided the early thunder for the Tritons, blasting a two-run shot of her own in the third inning to put UMSL on the board.
Later, another junior Hannah Wessels, added a solo shot of her own in the fourth inning, to make the score 3-0 Tritons, in back of starter Brittni Chapman, who tossed a complete-game shutout, with just four hits allowed, in what proved to be a 5-0 UMSL win over the Bulldogs.
Perryman (23-5) will likely get the start for the Tritons on Saturday. She was the winning pitcher in both games when UMSL swept a doubleheader from Bellarmine in Louisville, Ky., back on April 18.