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Minnesota Uses Long Ball to Leave Northridge Short

Softball: Home run in seventh breaks 1-1 tie and drops Matadors into elimination game against Missouri.


In the end, it really didn't matter that ace Tara Glaister of Cal State Northridge had her best stuff Friday against Minnesota.

One pitch, one swing and everything else became an afterthought.

Dana Ballard's home run in the top of the seventh was the difference in Minnesota's 2-1 victory over Cal State Northridge in a second-round game of the NCAA Division I regional at UCLA's Easton Stadium.

Minnesota (48-18) will play UCLA (57-6), the only other undefeated team in the regional, at 12:30 today.

Northridge (30-23), which was eliminated by Minnesota last year at Fresno, will play Missouri in an elimination game at 10 a.m.

Glaister, a riseball pitcher who struck out 13, looked as though she would single-handedly lead Northridge to its second consecutive postseason victory until Ballard's surprising heroics in the seventh.

"It happens," Glaister said. "It's frustrating but that's part of the game. You make your pitch or you don't make your pitch sometimes."

The only pitch Glaister didn't make, by all accounts, was the one she left hanging over the plate. The same one Ballard, a .164 hitter, ripped over the left-field fence for her first home run of the season.

Glaister (21-14), who allowed five hits, meant to throw outside on a 2-and-2 pitch, but missed badly.

Ballard, who struck out and flied out to left field in her first two at-bats, said she was feeling pretty confident in her third appearance.

"My previous at-bat I was able to get up there and take some pretty good hacks at the ball," Ballard said. "It took a couple [innings] to get used to her up [pitch]--it had really good spin on it."

Glaister's riseball had the Gophers swinging at air early, as the senior right-hander struck out seven of the first nine batters.

"[Glaister] did a great job," said co-Coach Lisa Bernstein of Minnesota. "She kept us off-balance all day. We were aggressive at the plate. We were swinging the sticks. We'd rather go down swinging being aggressive than just watching pitches go by."

Minnesota scored in the first inning with the help of a couple of Northridge miscues.

With one out, Steph Midthun reached first on an error when third baseman Ui Bal fumbled her bunt.

Shannon Beeler, who ranks No. 5 in Division I history in runs batted in, hit a ground ball through the hole on the left side that got past left fielder Jessica Creith and rolled to the fence.

"I had a late jump on it," Creith said. "I should have dove to block it. It should not have gotten by me whatsoever."

Midthun scored from first and Beeler's hit was ruled a double.

Northridge answered in the third after chasing Steph Klaviter, who gave up four hits in 2 1/3 innings.

"They were hitting Klavy pretty hard and we knew Michelle [Harrison] could come in and [shut them down] with her off-speed stuff," Bernstein said. "They are an aggressive group of women at the plate and she kept them off-balance with her off-speed and mixing in and out."

Jill Passafiume scored for Northridge on Jamie Moore's single off the left-center field fence.

After that, Harrison (10-7) allowed Northridge only one hit.

Northridge stranded eight runners, four in scoring position.



Regional One Double Elimination

Thursday's Results

* CS Northridge: 7

* Missouri: 3

* UCLA: 7

* Alabama: 0

* Minnesota: 2

* Creighton: 0

Friday's Results

* Missouri: 1

* Alabama: 0

Alabama eliminated

* UCLA: 14

* Creighton: 0

Creighton eliminated

* Minnesota: 2

* CS Northridge: 1

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