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Alger leads CNU to 3-1 victory over Virginia Wesleyan to open NCAA Super Regional

Kate Alger was outstanding in the pitching circle for the Captains, allowing no runs on just one hit through the first six innings.
Credit: CNU Athletics

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Christopher Newport University opened play Friday afternoon in the Super Regional round of the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament, and defeated Virginia Wesleyan University by a 3-1 margin. The Captains, now 30-10, need just one more victory over the Marlins to advance to the National Finals next week in Marshall, Texas.

CNU and VWU will play the second game in the best-of-three series on Saturday morning, with first pitch set for 10:00 a.m. If the Marlins are victorious, a third game to decide the series would be played at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Captains Park.

Sophomore Kate Alger, a right-hander from Staunton, Va., again was outstanding in the pitching circle for the Captains, allowing no runs on just one hit through the first six innings on a cool and breezy day on the CNU campus. Alger gave up a seventh inning home run to VWU's Alison Pollack for tbe Marlins only run, and just the second hit, of the day. The victory improved Alger's record to 15-5, as she struck out five with no walks issued. After giving up an infield single in the second inning, Alger retired 14 straight Marlins until Pollack's homer in the seventh ended the string.

The Captains grabbed the lead by scoring a run in the second inning when junior Caroline Pollock doubled to right-center, scoring sophomore Kendall Bentley all the way from first base. Bentley had singled earlier in the inning.

CNU added two more in the fifth frame when senior Abby Rochette led off with a walk, and came home on a fielder's choice off the bat of fellow senior Nicole Apai. The run would prove to be the game-winner for the tenth-ranked Captains. CNU's third run crossed the plate later in the fifth inning thanks to a wild pitch from Marlins starter Lauren Bible, allowing Pollock, who had reached base on a throwing error, to score.

Bible, a sophomore right-hander, allowed three runs but only one was earned. She fell to 15-2 on the season, and walked three while striking out three and yielding five hits to the Captains. Virginia Wesleyan, ranked 13th in the nation, fell to 38-12 with the loss,.

Alger's strong performance came exactly one week after she threw a perfect game last Friday in regional play over Roanoke at Captains Park. Alger faced just 21 batters, and retired them all, to register the eighth perfect game in CNU history.

The cross-water rivals will now tangle on Saturday for the right to advance in the 62-team tournament to the round of the final eight. Gates will open at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, and tickets will be available at that time. Tickets will again be $10.00 for adults, and $5.00 for students and will be cash only. CNU students with valid ID will be admitted free.

Christopher Newport and Virginia Wesleyan have won four of the last six NCAA Tournaments, and the Captains are the defending National Champions after going 47-1 a year ago.

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