OGDEN – The Wildcats are NISC Regional champions.
Fueled by a three-run home from senior first baseman Sara Hingsberger in her final appearance at Wildcat Softball Complex, the Weber State University softball team downed Boise State 8-0 in five innings in the decisive game of the National Invitational Softball Championship's Ogden Regional.
The win sends Weber State (36-20-1) into the championship round of the NISC in Lynchburg, Va., where the Wildcats be the No. 5 seed and will face No. 4 seed (and host) Liberty on Sunday at 5 p.m. MT.
“Winning a regional championship is pretty special,” Weber State coach Mary Kay Amicone said. “I'm just so happy for our seniors who get to keep playing. It was fun to see some seniors have great days with (Mackenzi Corta) and (Sara Hingsberger) coming up big in Game 2.
“It was also fun seeing our freshman really step up today too. Sydney White had a great day, including the walk-off hit, and Landi Hawker and Takesha Saltern put together some great at-bats all day. We're excited to see where this takes us this week and to get a shot at a national championship for the program and our seniors.”
Weber State entered the day needing just one win to clinch the regional title, but Boise State (33-20) had 14 hits and hit a back-breaking three-run home run in the sixth inning to take the day's opening game 5-1 and force the decisive winner-take-all contest.
Back-to-back Boise State errors in the fourth helped the Wildcats push two runs across and make it 4-0, setting the stage for Hingsberger's three-run blast over the left field fence and a 7-0 advantage.
After closing down the Broncos quickly in the top of the fifth, Corta led off the bottom of the inning with a double, advanced to third on ground ball to second from Blacker, and scored on White's RBI single to right field, ending the game on run-rule.
Corta, playing in her final two home games, finished the afternoon with three hits, including two doubles, while White and Hawker each had three hits, and senior Riana Splinter had a pair of hits and an RBI.
Freshman right fielder Takesha Saltern had her 89th hit of the year in the second game, leaving her just one hit shy of the national lead heading into the NISC championship round.
Junior right-hander Kirtlyn Bohling earned her 21st win of the year in the circle, tying the Big Sky Conference record for most wins in season, earning her seventh complete-game shutout.
Weber State finished with a 15-6 record at home this season, the most home wins in school history. The Wildcats are 41-9 at home since the start of the 2015 season.