St. Francis tops Siena, falls to Northwestern to end run in NCAA softball tourney

AUSTIN, Texas – Riding pitcher Grace Vesco through a complete-game shutout with 10 strikeouts, St. Francis tallied the second NCAA softball tournament victory in program history Saturday afternoon, edging Siena 1-0.

The Red Flash saw their season end one game later as they fell 5-1 to Northwestern with a shot at No. 1 overall seed Texas on the line.

St. Francis, which last won in the NCAA tournament in 2017 when it beat New Mexico State, cashed in the game’s only run against the Saints when Rachel Marsden drove in Savannah Nash with a run-scoring groundout.

Siena loaded the bases in the fifth before Vesco induced a groundout. The Saints got two runners on in the seventh before a Vesco strikeout ended the game.

Vesco set a single-season program record with 201 strikeouts. She broke her record of 196 set during the 2021 season. She ended up tied for third in program history with 20 victories and her 1.28 ERA is also third.

Against Northwestern, the Wildcats hopped out to a 2-0 lead in the first before Ashley Wruble singled in Lauren Aubry to cut into the lead. Northwestern sealed the win in the sixth with Izzy Cunnea's solo home run making it 3-1 before Kelsey Nader singled in a pair of runs to set the final.