After falling behind 3-0 in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament, the Loyola softball team couldn’t catch up and fell to Wichita State University 3-1.
The eighth seed Ramblers (27-26, 9-17) knew they had a tough task ahead going up against the fourth seed Shockers. The Shockers carried six all-conference players on their roster.
Loyola head coach Jeff Tylka sent sophomore pitcher Kiley Jones to the circle for the second consecutive game, but the Shockers took her for home runs in the second and third innings. Loyola’s offense went quiet against first team all-MVC pitcher Katie Malone, who had a perfect game through four innings. Sophomore catcher Katie Kasubke broke up the no-hitter with a solo home run to lead off the fifth inning, but that was all the scoring Loyola’s offense could muster up despite leaving runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings.
After the game, Tylka said he was happy his team had the chance to make the tournament after being picked to finish last in the MVC preseason poll, and feels it means the most to the upper-class players.
“I think it was a lot for these kids to do what they did [and] not worry about what other people are thinking and going out and competing,” Tylka said. “I think it’s a tribute to our older kids, the juniors and the seniors.”
The Ramblers finished the season 27-26 with a 9-17 MVC record. This was the team’s first winning season since 2013 when it went 28-19. The Ramblers are expected to return 14 of the 17 players on the roster next season.