Bloomington, Ill. – The Transylvania softball team kicked off the 2018 NCAA Tournament in dramatic fashion as freshman catcher Janelle Hynes smacked a walk-off, two-run home run to clinch an 8-6 victory over the DePauw University Tigers at the IWU Softball Field on Friday afternoon.
The Pioneers' record now stands at 33-7 on the season after winning the first game of the Bloomington regional, hosted by Illinois Wesleyan.
Friday afternoon's game featured Transylvania, the regular-season champions of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, versus the DePauw University Tigers, champions of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Pioneers took control of the game right from the start, lighting up the Tigers for five runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks to hits from Hynes and juniors Brittany Mumford, Jessica Powell, Meg Liter, and Shelbi Poehlein.
After giving up a run to the Tigers in the top of the second inning, the Pioneers extended their lead to 6-1 on an RBI single from Liter that scored Hynes.
Senior pitcher Renae Morton got off to a strong start for Transylvania before getting touched up by the Tigers for five runs in the top of the fifth inning. Junior pitcher Tayler Thompson came in to close out the inning for the Pioneers, but DePauw had done enough damage to even the game at 6-6.
With the score tied, the two teams settled in defensively for the next four innings as neither side was ready to relinquish the winning run.
Then, following a lead-off walk by Mumford in the bottom of the tenth inning, Hynes sent a towering shot over the left field wall to seal the 8-6 victory for the Pioneers.
Freshman pitcher Kameron Bowling was spectacular in five innings of relief work, giving up just one hit and no runs en route to the victory. Bowling's record now stands at 9-2 on the season.
Transylvania will now look ahead to tomorrow's winner's bracket game against Illinois Wesleyan, the No. 24 ranked team in the NFCA Top 25 poll. The game is a rematch of last season's Lexington Super Regional, which the Titans took from the Pioneers, two games to one. The winner will advance to Sunday's 1:00 p.m. Eastern time championship game while the loser will have to play against in an elimination game at 5:00 p.m. against either Thomas More or DePauw.
First pitch between the Pioneers and the Titans is set for 12:00 p.m. Eastern time at the IWU Softball Field.
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