COLUMBUS, Ga. (May 25, 2013) – Spring Hill College notched seven unanswered runs and pitcher Caroline Sagrera held LCU to one run on three hits and struck out seven batters, as the 10-seed Badgers handed No.2 Lubbock Christian University a 9-1 loss Saturday at the NAIA Softball National Championship final site at Southern Commons Softball Complex. The loss, which was LCU's first ever run-rule loss in a National Championship contest, places them in an elimination bracket contest at 9 a.m. (Central) Monday against St. Xavier University (Ill.).
The Badgers of Mobile, Ala. based Spring Hill College jumped on the scoreboard first with a two-run bottom of the first inning. Taylor Webre laid down her team-leading 14th sacrifice bunt of the season and it scored Mariha Partman from third base for a 1-0 lead. Katelyn Hinson hit a key two-out single to left field to add to the lead before the Badgers would strand a pair of runners on base. They sent seven batters to the plate in the first inning.
LCU did not garner their first hit of the game until the top of the third inning when McKenzie Clemmons reached first base on an infield single hit to second base. Megan Sullivan followed with a walk to set up a two-out flare to left field by Latainna Eltsosie, scoring Clemmons to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Lady Chaps placed two in scoring position with one out in the fourth inning, but Caroline Sagrera was able to strikeout Kirstie Cochran and Mallory Koschany to keep the tying run at third base. Sagrera had seven strikeouts in four innings pitched against LCU.
The missed opportunity by LCU would hurt them in the bottom half of the fourth inning, as Partman would hit a three-run home run with two outs. The smash well beyond the centerfield fence was her 12th home run of the season and it provided the Badgers a 5-1 lead. They would seal the win in the bottom of the fifth inning with four runs coming with just one out recorded in the inning. Hinson and Taylor Lahasky each produced singles to reach and Raleigh Downs followed with a two-run single. A Lady Chaps error led to an 8-1 lead before Shea Blanchard brought the game to a close with a walk-off single up the middle.
Sagrera showed no signs of fatigue after throwing 14 innings Friday in an extra-inning victory. She improved to 36-9 with the win in the circle. Katera Eltsosie struggled in her second consecutive start. She allowed a season-high seven earned runs off seven hits in 4.1 innings. She fell to 28-6 on the season. Katera has allowed 12 runs over her prior two starts. Prior to that mark, she had made 14 starts combining for 12 runs earned.
The Lady Chaps offense has hit a lull as well. They have only notched two multi-run innings over the past 25 innings. LCU had produced four multi-run innings over a span of five innings leading up to the dry spell.
While SHC improved to 47-15 with their second win of the tournament, the Lady Chaps fell to 58-9. It was LCU's first game, as they received a first round bye. It was the second time this season they had been run-ruled, but the first by an NAIA program. LCU had never been run-ruled by a non-Sooner Athletic Conference NAIA opponent, and the last NAIA program to run-rule the Lady Chaps was Oklahoma City University on Mar. 27, 2010. Monday's game will be an internet-only audio broadcast on www.lcuchaps.com. Video services will be provided by the NAIA with links posted on LCU's page.