St. Catherine, in Division III, and Minnesota State Mankato, in Division II, clinched spots in the NCAA softball finals with comeback victories Sunday.

St. Catherine (38-12) advanced to the College World Series for the first time in program history by defeating MIAC rival St. Thomas 8-4 in Game 2 of their best-of-three Super Regional series in St. Paul.

The Tommies (38-11) had leads of 3-0 and 4-3, but the Wildcats came back to tie it each time and then broke the game open with four runs in the top of the seventh inning.

The Wildcats will open play in the eight-team finals against Illinois Wesleyan on Thursday in Oklahoma City.

The Mavericks (59-7) beat Harding 7-6 on its home field in Searcy, Ark., in the third and deciding game of their Super Regional to reach their third World Series and their first since 2011. The game began Saturday but was suspended in the second inning because of lightning and rain.

MSU Mankato trailed 6-3 after five innings, but it scored two runs in the top of the sixth and two more in the seventh.

Harding (58-9) was ranked No. 2 in the country.

MSU Mankato will open play in the eight-team finals against Southern Indiana on Thursday in Salem, Va.

Division II baseball

Central Oklahoma knocked out Minnesota State Mankato and then St. Cloud State at the NCAA Division II baseball regional in Emporia, Kan.

MSU Mankato (46-11) took a 2-0 lead on Central Oklahoma on home runs by Dylan Dresel and Hunter Harnisch before the Bronchos rallied to win 3-2. Central Oklahoma then beat the Huskies (41-18) 14-8.

The Bronchos will play Lindenwood for the regional title on Monday.

Division III baseball

St. Thomas lost to Wisconsin-La Crosse 8-3 in an elimination game at the NCAA Division III baseball regional in Whitewater, Wis.

Earlier Sunday, the Tommies (29-18) staved off elimination for the third consecutive game with a 10-5 victory over St. Scholastica.

St. Thomas leadoff hitter Jake Smith ended the day 4-for-8 with four runs scored.

Wisconsin-La Crosse will need to beat Concordia (Ill.) twice on Monday to claim its third straight regional title.

Saints split pair

The St. Paul Saints split a doubleheader with the Gary SouthShore Railcats, winning the opener 4-0 and losing the nightcap 10-3 in a pair of seven-inning games at CHS Field.

The Saints took three of the four games in their opening series of the American Association season.

John Straka and relievers Corey Williams and Seth Rosin combined on the Game 1 shutout. Tony Thomas went 2-for-3 with a double and a home run.


• Ina Poecher of Shore­view was named to the U.S. canoe/kayak junior world championship team that will compete in Pitetsi, Romania, July 27-30.

Poecher, a member of Twin Cities Paddlesports, will race in the K-4 (four-person) flatwater sprint kayak races over distances of 500 and 1,000 meters.

She earned the berth based on her strong performance at the team trials, which ended Sunday in Gainesville, Ga.