Senior Sarah Dowd hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift the Youngstown State softball team to a 3-2 win over Detroit in an elimination game. The Penguins, who lost to UIC earlier in the day, will face the Flames on Saturday at 1 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. CDT.
Youngstown State (31-27) will have to defeat the Flames twice to the Horizon League Championship and earn the program's second berth to the NCAA Regional Tournament.
The Titans scored twice in the top half of the sixth on back-to-back doubles and a suicide-squeeze gave Detroit-Mercy a 2-1 lead.
Senoir Maria Lacatena led off the bottom half with a walk. On the next pitch, Dowd smashed her eighth home run of the season and the 37th of her career over the left-field wall.
After a UDM's Kara Vitale led off the seventh with a double and third on a ground out. Freshman Maddi Lusk, who picked up the win in relief, induced a grounder to third and a fly out to right field to end the game.
Sophomore Paige Geanangel turned in an impressive start going five-plus innings and allowed both runs on just five hits.
Lusk picked up her 17th win of the year, which is tied for third on the single-season wins list. She is tied with Geanangel, who won 17 games in 2017.
The Penguins fell to UIC, 6-3, in the winner's bracket final earlier in day.
YSU had the bases loaded in the top of the first and second innings but stranded the runners both times.
UIC scored three in the bottom of the first and two more in the bottom of the third to take a 5-0 lead.
The Penguins cut the deficit to 5-1 with a run in the fourth, but UIC answered with one in the bottom of the fifth.
Lacatena and Dowd each had run-scoring singles in the top of the seventh to cut the UIC lead to 6-3, but the Penguins could not score any more.