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Softball - Mon, May. 13, 2013

LUBBOCK, Texas (May 13, 2013) – Megan Sullivan and Ashton Bell each went 3-for-4 with three runs-batted-in and their performances helped top-seeded and No.2 Lubbock Christian University open their play in the Lubbock Bracket of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round with a 9-5 win over fourth-seeded Northwood University (Texas) Monday afternoon at a packed PlainsCapital Park.

Bethany Armstrong put the Knights on the scoreboard first, hitting a sacrifice fly to plate Taylor Jones for a 1-0 lead. LCU responded in the home half of the inning with three runs off five hits, sending seven batters to the plate. All five hits were singles, with Sullivan, Stephanie Rendon and Bell each driving in a run with their hits for a 3-1 lead. Meagan Flores led off the second inning with her third home run of the season and the solo shot cut the LCU lead to 3-2. In the bottom of the third inning, Bell followed a trio of LCU singles with their first extra-base hit of the game, which was a double to left-centerfield to drive in a pair of runs. LCU scored three runs in the inning and led 6-2. Sullivan connected on a tape-measuring shot in the fourth inning, blasting a two-run home run over the scoreboard in left-centerfield. Her ninth home run of the season extended LCU's lead to 8-2. The final run for LCU was scored in the bottom of the fifth inning, with Kirstie Cochran singling in Faith Koria, who led off the inning with a triple. Northwood made things interesting in the seventh inning sending nine batters to the plate. Three runs were scored with two outs, including a two-run single by Kaylan Pruitt before the Lady Chaps completed the final out to claim the victory.

Bell and Sullivan were joined by Rendon to lead the team with three hits. Rendon was 3-for-3 with two runs-batted-in. The Knights were led at the plate by Jones (3-for-4) and Armstrong (3-for-3), who each had three hits. Armstrong and Pruitt each drove in two runs in the loss. Pitcher Megan Spence claimed the loss (13-3) for Northwood. She allowed eight runs off 12 hits in 3.2 innings. Courtney McGee started in the circle for LCU. She allowed five runs on 11 hits in seven innings pitched. The 11 hits allowed by LCU was the most allowed over a 43-game stretch (Mar. 7 at Oklahoma Baptist). The five earned runs allowed was the most allowed over a 23-game span (Mar. 23 vs. St. Gregory's).

Northwood (29-18) falls into an elimination game and will play Tuesday at 2 p.m. against No.24 Houston-Victoria (Texas). The winner of that game will move into a 5 p.m. elimination game Tuesday to face the losing team of Tuesday's 11 a.m. game between Lubbock Christian (56-7) and Friends (Kan.). The winner of the contest pitting LCU and Friends advances into Wednesday's bracket championship game.