MEC SOFTBALL: W.Va. State, Charleston into loser’s bracket at league tourney

SALEM, Va. — A three-run fifth inning by host and second-seeded UVa-Wise on Thursday helped put No. 7 West Virginia State into the loser’s bracket of the Mountain East Conference Softball Tournament, as Wise held on for a 3-2 victory over the Yellow Jackets.

State (26-26) led 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Mindy Combs smacked a two-run single to give the Cavaliers the lead for good. Taylor Brandts picked up her 20th win on the season as Wise improved to 34-14. State will play Glenville State in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

In first round games earlier Thursday, State sophomore Syndey Kaplan doubled and hit a home run, leading the Yellow Jackets to a 6-3 win over 10th-seeded Shepherd.

Kaplan, a Cabell Midland High School graduate, hit a two-run double that sparked a four-run third inning for State. Kaplan then homered to left-center field in the fifth to add an insurance run for winning pitcher Anna Eggleston.

Shepherd (21-28) will play Charleston in an elimination game at noon Friday. The Golden Eagles, who entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed, fell to fifth-seeded Urbana 3-2 after Urbana won its first-round game against West Liberty early Thursday.

Urbana (26-19-1) got out to a 3-0 lead before UC (33-18) came back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday.

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