VIENNA, W. Va. – The IU Southeast softball team pushed No. 18 Rio Grande to the limit but fell 5-3 in the River States Conference Championship game Saturday.

 

The Grenadiers (28-21) opened Saturday's action by losing a 7-0 decision to Rio Grande before winning the loser's bracket final over Midway 4-0 as starter Emily Weiss threw a complete game one-hit shutout to set up a rematch against Rio Grande in the championship round.

IU Southeast forced a winner-take-all second game for the championship behind the great outing from starter Becca Schoenung. She gave up one run on seven hits for the complete-game win. Justice Kline went 3-for-3 with an RBI to help spark a four-run fifth inning to put the game away.

That set up the Grenadiers fourth game of the day to decide the first River States Conference Tournament champion.

The Grenadiers got on the board first when Justice Kline scored on a wild pitch but the RedStorm tied the game in the bottom of the second when starter Kelsey Conkey helped her cause with a solo home run.

Rio Grande (45-8) scored in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to build a comfortable lead. Sydney Seger cut into the four-run deficit with a two-run home in the sixth to make it a 5-3 game.

IU Southeast got the tying run to the plate in the seventh after Clara Shean singled but pinch hitter Maddie Probus struck out to end the game.

IU Southeast earns the River States Conference's second automatic bid to the NAIA Softball National Championship as Rio Grande had already earned a bid as the league's regular season champion. The Grenadiers will learn their opening round site and opponents next week.