Northern Iowa’s Macey Wolfe hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning to defeat Wichita State 6-4 in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Normal, Ill.
The top-seeded Panthers (33-18) play either No. 2 Illinois State or No. 3 Southern Illinois State at 1 p.m. Saturday in the championship game. The winner earns an automatic bid to an NCAA regional.
The fourth-seeded Shockers (32-20) took a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning on a two-run home run by Laurie Derrico.
Wolfe, a senior right fielder with five home runs entering the game, drove in all of UNI’s runs.
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In the seventh, Courtney Krodinger singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Brittney Roby reached on a fielder’s choice when pitcher Katie Malone elected to throw to third too late to get Krodinger. Wolfe followed by smashing an 0-1 pitch to left field to end the game.
The sixth inning started with an error on UNI second baseman Brittney Krodinger that allowed Madison Perrigan to reach base. With one out, Derrico hit a 1-1 pitch off freshman reliever Jaclyn Spencer to right-center field for a 4-3 lead.
The Shockers tied the game 1-all in the fourth on Perrigan’s double to score Kelli Spring. Spring drove in a fifth-inning run with a single to give the Shockers a 2-1 lead.
The Panthers took a 3-2 lead on Wolfe’s two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning.
Jenni Brooks started for WSU and allowed one run, one hit and walked three in two innings. Malone (26-11) gave up five hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings
Wichita State 3, Loyola 1 — Malone held the eighth-seeded Ramblers to four hits and home runs by Derrico and Perrigan supplied the offense in Friday’s first game.
Malone did not allow a runner until the fifth inning, when Katie Kasubke homered. Malone struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. She improved to 26-10, extending her school record for single-season wins.
Derrico’s second-inning homer gave the Shockers a 1-0 lead. Perrigan homered with a runner on in the third.
At Normal, Ill.
No. 8 Loyola 6, No. 5 Evansville 1
No. 7 Missouri State 2, No. 6 Drake 1
No. 4 Wichita State 3, No. 8 Loyola 1
No. 3 Southern Illinois 9, No. 7 Missouri State 3
No. 1 Northern Iowa 6, Wichita State 4
Southern Illinois vs. No. 2 Illinois State, 6:30
Championship, 1 p.m.
All games on ESPN3.com