The Weber State softball team concluded their season on May 21 as they fell to North Dakota State University 5–2 in the second game of the double-elimination 2016 NCAA Regional Tournament in Seattle, Washington.
Weber State dropped the first game of the tournament to the University of Washington 14–6, sending them to the consolation bracket.
“We fought and came up a little bit short,” Weber State head coach Mary Kay Amicone said. “Overall, our season was a tremendous success. This team has changed the culture of Weber State softball, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Both teams struggled to get anything going offensively until the bottom of the second inning when senior Maritza Lopez-Portillo of North Dakota State drilled a two-run home run over left-centerfield that put the Bison up 2–0.
Weber State cut that lead in half when senior Aubrey Whitmer hit a sacrifice-fly at the top of the third to bring in junior Carley White.
North Dakota responded with a home run from senior Cheyenne Garcia in the bottom of the third and another home run by senior Jackie Stifter in the bottom of the fifth.
At the top of the seventh, senior Alyson Kulp recorded an RBI-double, which brought sophomore McKinley Brinkerhoff home to make it a 5–2 game.
“I didn’t think that was going to be my last at bat because I had a feeling we were going to get something back,” Kulp said. “I was just thinking battle the ball, drive and run.”
Tatiana Su’esu’e entered the lineup to pinch-hit for JaeCie Wilson with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. NDSU pitcher Jacquelyn Sertic struck out Su’esu’e and destroyed any chance of Wildcat redemption.
Sertic recorded 12 strikeouts, five hits and two walks in the game against Weber State.
“She moved the ball really well and kept us off balance, and I commend her on that,” Kulp said.
This was the last shot at a regional title for seniors Jazmine Thompson, Krystin Kubo, Rudi Barrios, Whitmer and Kulp.
“The seniors are remarkable,” Amicone said. “I can’t say anything more about the sacrifice and commitment these five seniors have given for our program. … I appreciate what they have done and the legacy they will leave.”
Whitmer was named Big Sky Player of the Year and Big Sky Tournament MVP and was one of the two players to score an RBI in the second regional game.
“It was an amazing experience,” Whitmer said. “Winning the Big Sky Championship both years, two regional experiences and playing at the top-64 team level was just an incredible experience.”
Despite the NCAA Regional loss, Weber State finished their season with a record of 37–19, the Big Sky regular season conference title and the Big Sky Championship title for the second year in a row.
“We had a great season,” Kulp said. “We cannot hold our heads down. Both games we played this weekend, we fought back. … The team has just got to turn their heads to next year and battle through the adversity.”