Alexandria, LA – Top seed Brenau and #2 seed LSUA set up the rematch from the Gulf Shores Invitational earlier this season, as the top two seeds took care of business in the first round of the Alexandria Bracket of the NAIA National Championship Tournament Opening Round, with Brenau defeating Edward Waters 5-0 while LSUA defeated USAO 7-0 Monday evening at Generals Field.
Game 1:Brenau 5, Edward Waters 0
In a first round cat fight, the #2-ranked Brenau Golden Tigers continued to ride the pitching of Kathleen Daniel as she allowed only one hit through five innings of work, giving her offense time to get going in the 5-0 win over the Edward Waters Tigers.
Brenau collected their first run in the second inning on Courtney Kenney’s sacrifice fly that scored Savannah Moore for a 1-0 lead. The Golden Tigers gave Daniel more cushion in the fifth inning. Tabitha Morrison beat out a throw on a ground ball to short to raise the lead to 2-0. Edward Waters contributed to the next Brenau run as an error allowed in Mackenzie Oliver Mullis to make it 3-0 Golden Tigers.
The Golden Tigers added two more in the sixth thanks to Edward Waters mistakes. A misplayed grounder in center allowed Shelton Kendrix to score while Courtney Kenney moved all the way to third. She was come across on a passed ball for the game’s final run.
Kathleen Daniel (43-2) threw five inning and gave up just one hit while she struck out 13 batters with one walk to get the win for Brenau (52-5). Jessica Rathje closed out the final two innings without giving up a hit and striking out two more Tigers. Lexi Cash got hits in all three of her at-bats, while Shelton Kendrix had a pair of hits in three plate appearances. Mackenzie Oliver Mullis and Courtney Kenney each had an RBI.
Gabrielle Williamson (5-8) threw all seven innings for Edward Waters (27-26), allowing eight hits and five runs, three earned, and didn’t walk anyone while striking out four. Tiffany Solomon had the Tigers only hit, which occurred in the first inning.
Game 2: Science & Arts 0, LSU Alexandria 7
After stranding two USAO base runners in the first inning, LSUA broke onto the scoreboard in a big way in the bottom half of the frame. With two outs, Julinn Torres singled to collect the Generals first hit, then Danelle Billings blasted a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left center field for her 19th home run of the season to give LSUA a 2-0 lead.
As Marci West continued to put zeros in the USAO score column, LSUA extended the lead in the fourth inning, thanks to a Drover mistake. The USAO shortstop bobbled a grounder that could’ve been the third out of the inning, but instead pinch runner Jessica Hampton scored on the play to make it 3-0 LSUA.
The Generals busted the game open in the fifth inning. Jacy Ummel tried to bunt Kennedy Beard over to second base, but an wild throw by the USAO third baseman allowed Beard to move to third and Ummel to second. Julinn Torres made the Drovers pay with a two-RBI double for a 5-0 LSUA lead. With Torres on third, PJ Leon grounded out to the right side of the infield, allowing Torres to score to make it 6-0. Another USAO error allowed Danelle Billings to score for the game’s final run.
Marci West (23-5) threw six innings to collect the win for the Generals (47-8). She gave up six hits and struck out seven while walking just one. West extended her shutout streak to 20 straight innings without allowing a run. Kasey Cazares finished the final inning, allowing one hit and one strikeout with no walks to preserve the shutout. Julinn Torres was LSUA’s lone multi-hit batter, collecting two base knocks in four at bats. Torres and Danelle Billings each had a pair of RBIs in the game.
Tate Landmark (14-6) went all the way for the Drovers (38-17). She gave up six hits and seven runs, just three earned, with four strikeouts and three walks. Landmark, Dakota Clouse and Dagan Lampkin each had a pair of hits in the game.
The winner’s bracket game will kick off day two of the NAIA National Championship Tournament Opening Round, as LSUA will try to avenge an earlier season loss to Brenau. The Golden Tigers defeated the Generals 4-2 back on March 4th in pool play of the Gulf Shores Invitational. First pitch between LSUA and Brenau is set for 2:00 P.M., with the winner advancing the Bracket Final on Wednesday.
The day’s second game will be its first elimination game as Edward Waters will take on Science & Arts, currently scheduled for 4:00 P.M. The winner of the USAO/EWC game will face the LSUA/Brenau loser at 6:00 P.M. in the day’s second elimination game, which will also determine the other finalist. All games will take place at Generals Field.