DECORAH, Iowa – Ainsley Billesbach's two-run triple sparked a three-run fifth inning and Dubuque came back to beat the Simpson softball team 7-3 in the first round of the Iowa Conference Tournament on Friday.
The third-seeded Storm (29-10) led 2-0 until the fifth, when the sixth-seeded Spartans (15-26) got three hits with two outs and took a 3-2 lead. Courtney Markin added a two-run homer in the seventh, helping Dubuque advance to play second-seeded Central on Saturday.
The No. 2 team in Midwest Region heading into the weekend, Simpson's chances at an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament are now in the hands of the selection committee. The selection show will air Monday at 9 a.m. on NCAA.com.
Brianna Chaplin drove in runs in the second and fourth innings to give Simpson a 2-0 lead. The advantage seemed to be plenty for starter Riley Fisher, who held Dubuque to two hits over the first four innings.
Tori Haag doubled to lead off the seventh and scored on a record-setting RBI groundout by Hailey Jensen. After Megan Loes issued a two-out walk to Rachel Guessford, Stacie Brown grounded out to end the game.
Loes (4-7) allowed one run off two hits with a strikeout and five walks. Fisher (13-5) surrendered seven runs – six earned – off eight hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.
Jensen's RBI groundout made her Simpson's career leader in RBIs, giving her 110 for her career … she passed Tieryn Potratz, who had 109 RBIs from 2010-13 … Jensen's 179 career hits are second all-time at Simpson, one shy of the record set by Veronica Roshek (180 from 2009-12) … she also set the record for at-bats in a career (508).