FARGO, N.D. — What a difference a month makes.
Four weeks ago, UNO had a 2-7 record in Summit League play. On Saturday, the Mavs will play in the league's championship game for the first time in program history.
Freshman Izzy Eltze's two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh inning gave UNO a 2-1 win over UMKC on Friday, sending the Mavericks to the final.
Winners of 13 of their past 17, the Mavs will face top-seeded South Dakota State in the final at 1 p.m. The Jackrabbits will need to defeat UNO twice to win the title.
UNO prevented the Kangaroos from taking a lead with key defensive plays throughout Friday's game.
Lexi Burkhardt gave UNO a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a home run to right-center, her fourth this season. UMKC tied it in the fourth, but the Kangaroos stranded runners in scoring position in five of the first six innings.
In the bottom of the second and third, UMKC had runners thrown out at home by right fielder Taylor Johnson. In the fifth, UMKC had runners on second and third with one out when Johnson caught the ball and turned it into a 9-2-5 double play as catcher Sydney Ross caught the runner at third too far off the base.
UNO's rally in the seventh started with a Burkhardt double. She moved to third with two outs before Eltze, a left-handed batter, grounded a single into left field for the go-ahead run.
Sydney Hampton, who pitched the last three innings for the win, retired the Kangaroos in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Burkhardt and Eltze each had two hits on the day to lead UNO's offense.