Alexandria, LA – For the second straight season, the top seed will not come out of the Alexandria Bracket.
The 2-seed LSUA Generals clinched their berth to the Final by knocking off the 1-seed, No. 2 ranked Brenau, 2-1 in Tuesday’s first game. Third-seed Science & Arts joined the Generals by eliminating Edward Waters 14-0, then the Drovers stunned the Golden Tigers 1-0 on a walk-off double Tuesday night to set the finals in the Alexandria Bracket of the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round at Generals Field.
Game 3: Brenau 1, LSU Alexandria 2
LSUA took early momentum as the Generals, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Jacy Ummer poked a pitch through the left side of the infield and then, with two outs, Julinn Torres slammed the ball off the wall in straight away center field to put LSUA up.
The Generals added to it in the third inning with the same combination coming together to score again. Ummel led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Torres then smacked a pitch into the ground that tipped off the third baseman’s glove and into left field, allowing Ummel to come around and score again to make it 2-0.
Brenau broke through in the fourth inning, getting a pair of singles to start the inning. But after a pair of grounders resulted in outs at third base, Mason Garland drove a pitch into center field for a RBI single that score Shelton Kendrix for the 2-1 score. A base running mistake kept the Golden Tigers from tying the game in the fifth inning as Lexi Cash led off with a single but didn’t notice Kennedy Beard sneaking behind her as everyone played for a bunt. Kaitlyn Eaves threw back behind Cash to Beard and picked her off of first base. A couple pitches later, Mackenzie Mullis doubled down the right field line, but she would be left stranded.
LSUA had a chance to break the game open in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with one out, but a pair of strike outs from the national leader in most pitching categories, Kathleen Daniel, kept the Generals off the board. After LSUA starter Madison Resch got in a bit of trouble, giving up a pair of singles to start the sixth, Marci West came on to get the next six Golden Tigers out to save the win.
Madison Resch (16-1) threw five efficient innings for the Generals, giving up eight hits and one run, which was earned, while striking out one and walking four. Marci West retired all six batters she faced to collect her first save of the season. Julinn Torres got hits in all three of her plate appearances to go along with both RBIs. Jacy Ummel was two of three and scored both runs.
Kathleen Daniel (43-3) threw the complete game as she gave up six hits and two runs, both earned, walked two and struck out 15. Savannah Moore had two hits for the Golden Tigers while Mason Garland picked up the team’s lone RBI.
The win moved LSUA into the Alexandria Bracket Finals undefeated in the double elimination tournament.
Game 4: Science & Arts 14, Edward Waters 0
The first elimination game of the day was pure domination by the Drovers of USAO. With two outs in the top of the first inning, the Drovers jumped out on top in a big way as Chloe Clifton hit her seventh home run of the season, a three-run blast to straight away center field. Back-to-back doubles allowed Caitlin Hall to score to make it 4-0 Drovers after an inning of play.
Shania Beck equaled Clifton’s efforts in the fourth inning, taking a two-out, 1-2 pitch to center for a three-run home run of her ow, her 14th of the season for a 7-0 USAO lead. USAO put the game out of reach with seven runs in the seventh inning for the 14-0 score.
With the Drovers in command, starting pitcher Tate Landmark (15-6) was on cruise control, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning. With one out in the inning, Tiffany Solomon was able poke a pitch into the right-center gap to break up the perfect game and no-hitter. She would be left on first base. She allowed just the one hit, didn’t walk any Tigers and struck out nine.
Caitlin Hall was four of five at the plate for the Drovers as she collected a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Shania Beck and Chloe Clifton each had a trio of RBIs thanks to the pair of three-run home runs.
Yessenia Morena (9-11) started the game and only got two outs before she was relieved. She gave up four hits and four runs, all earned and walked one. Tiffany Solomon was the Tigers lone base runner with her seventh inning single. Edward Waters finished their season with a 27-27 record.
Game 5: Brenau 0, Science & Arts 1
The final game of day two was a pure pitcher’s duel as starters Kathleen Daniel for Brenau and Jordan Detherage for Science & Arts controlled the opposing batters all the way throughout the game. Brenau would strand runners in scoring position in the first and third innings, while it would take to the fourth inning for USAO to gets a runner to second base.
However, it would take all the way to the bottom of the seventh inning for the breakthrough run to finally score. With one out, Chloe Clifton was hit by a pitch to get on base, and was sacrificed into scoring position. Dagan Lampkin then played hero for the Drovers, driving a pitch to the wall in center for a double which allowed Clifton to round third for the walk-off win.
Jordan Detherage (18-6) threw a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits without walking anyone and striking out two batters. USAO only got two hits in the game, one each from Tate Landmark and Dagan Lampkin, with Lampkin’s providing the game’s lone RBI. The win propelled the Drovers into tomorrow’s Bracket Finals.
Kathleen Daniel (43-4) also threw a complete game. She gave up just two hits and the one run, which was earned, while she walked one and struck out 15. In three games in the Alexandria Bracket, Daniel struck out 40 batters. Mackenzie Mullis, Kelsey Payne and Shelton Kendrix had a hit each for the Golden Tigers. Brenau’s season comes to a close with a 52-7 record.
The Bracket Finals will pit the 2-seed and host Generals against the 3-seed Drovers, who met in the first round on Monday with LSUA winning 7-0. LSUA is looking to win the Alexandria Bracket for the second time in three years, while USAO will try to become the second straight 3-seed to win the bracket, following Williams Baptist’s accomplishment from last year. First pitch between the Generals and Drovers is set for 1:00 P.M. at Generals Field, with LSUA needing one win to clinch the title, while USAO will try to force a winner-take-all game, which would happen immediately after game one is finished. The winner advances to the NAIA Softball World Series May 26th to June 1st in Clermont, Florida.