WINTHROP — Layne Audet struck out 14 batters, but the Winthrop pitcher’s biggest strike came in the bottom of the sixth while at the plate.

Audet singled in the go-ahead run, then struck out the final three batters in the top of the seventh after allowing a lead-off single, leading the fourth-seeded Ramblers to a 6-5 victory over No. 5 Monmouth in a Class C South softball quarterfinal Thursday. Winthrop will play at Madison on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the regional semifinals.

Audet’s game-winning hit came after Hanna Caprara was intentionally walked, a decision Monmouth (11-6) co-coach Dave Kaplan said was “taking a chance.”

“I didn’t really want to let Audet hit, but the way Hanna was swinging the bat, it looked like choose your evils,” Kaplan said. “And it might be the lesser, but she came through with that base hit, and that was difference.”

Caprara had earlier hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the third to give the Ramblers (13-4) a 3-1 lead.

“It felt good once I hit it, and then I looked out and it was just going,” Caprara said.

Monmouth’s Abby Flanagan dives safely into second base as Winthrop shortstop Kate Perkins awaits a throw during the Ramblers’ win in a Class C South quarterfinal Thursday in Winthrop. Sun Journal photo by Wil Kramlich

“It really fired this team up,” Winthrop coach Chuck Gurney said.

It was Caprara’s second hit of the game, after a single in the first loaded the bases with one out. But the Ramblers couldn’t take advantage, squandering the scoring opportunity.

“That was huge,” Kaplan said. “It was a momentum-builder. It got the confidence flowing.”

Winthrop had scored four runs in the first during the regular-season meeting, then had to hold on for a win. The Mustangs survived that scare Thursday, then seized the early momentum by scoring the game’s first run in the top of the second. Abby Flanagan singled in Deanna Bauer for a 1-0 lead.

The bottom of the Monmouth batting order got the offense going again in the fourth to tie the game — briefly. No. 8 hitter McKenzie Boucher singled with one out, and pinch hitter Erin Gosselin singled as well to score Boucher. Emily Kaplan drove in Gosselin with a single two batters later to tie the game 3-3.

Winthrop re-took the lead in the bottom of the frame when Moriah Hajduk singled home Maria Dostie.

The teams traded two-run innings in the sixth. Emily Chasse singled in two runs to give Monmouth a 5-4 lead, only to have Kate Perkins score on an error to tie the game in the bottom half, setting up Caprara’s free pass and Audet’s game-winning hit.

“We’ve been in a bunch of one-run games this year, so we’ve been behind by a little bit, we’ve been ahead by a little bit,” Gurney said. “So I think leading up to this that really helped, being in those situations before.”

Abby Ferland led off the seventh with a single and stole second, but Audet beared down and struck out the side to end the game.

“She was hitting her spots really well, and we know their weaknesses where they can’t hit well, and that’s where we were pitching it, so it worked well,” said Caprara, who caught Audet.