Sam Birling's first-inning grand slam jump started No. 3-ranked St. Thomas Softball in Thursday's 9-0 win over Northwestern-St. Paul in the NCAA playoffs at South Field. The game was halted after five innings by the run rule.
Kierstin Anderson-Glass ran her shutout streak to 35 innings, including all 30 innings in four postseason wins. The junior set down the first 13 batters she faced before she allowed a one-out walk on a 3-2 count, then surrendured a two-out single in the fifth inning.
Birling and Bromen each had two hits to lead a nine-hit Tommie attack. In the St. Thomas first at bat, Melissa Barry's single and two walks loaded the bases with two outs and Birling emptied the bases with a homer to left.
St. Thomas (39-5) has won 24 of its last 25 games. It plays Friday at noon in the winners' bracket against UW-Eau Claire (27-11-1), a 2-1 winner over Wartburg. The Knights (26-12) and Northwestern (27-16) play an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.