SHREVEPORT, La. – After being held to no runs in the first 11 innings of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Tournament, the sixth-seeded University of Dallas softball team tallied seven in the last three innings of regulation to upset fourth-seeded Schreiner University in the first elimination game on Saturday.
The Mountaineers struck in the first with a pair of runs, but Dallas stormed back taking its first lead of the tournament the sixth inning, 3-2. Brianna Hale (Austin, Texas) smacked the hit to center field for two RBI that included the go-ahead run. A four-run seventh extended the lead for Dallas, who snapped a six-game slide in the conference tournament dating to 2016. the triumph also ended a seven-game losing streak for Dallas and snapped a 11-game losing stretch in head-to-head meetings with the Mountaineers since 2017.
Team Scores: Dallas (7), Schreiner (2)
Team Records: Dallas (8-32), Schreiner (17-26)
Pitcher Records: W) Paige Rasmussen (3-6), L) Moody (6-4)
The game started out well for Schreiner, playing as the home team with the higher seed, as it had the Crusaders leave a runner in scoring position in the first two innings. Immediate offense came in the first, as Bigley singled down the left field line to score Bell and Maki.
The Mountaineers threatened to push the game out of reach in the fourth inning with leadoff singles by Stoker and Moody that put runners on the corners. After a groundout to short kept the runners at the same bases, Dallas right fielder Mackenzie Tano (Wylie, Texas) caught the second out and fired home to nab Stoker trying to score but instead ended the inning.
The Dallas offense was held to just one hit, which was the first at bat of the game by Bri Torres (Cypress, Texas), through the first four innings. Mel Savala (Bryan, Texas) knocked a single to start the fifth. After a couple fielder's choices kept a runner at first, Torres walked and Madison Coutts (Tampa, Fla.) dropped a double down the right field line for the first run of the conference tournament for the Crusaders to slash the deficit to 2-1.
It was an errorless game for both sides until three came in the last two top halves of innings in the game that helped UD pour six unearned runs and put the game out of reach in a stunner. Two deep fly balls to right and left field by the number four and five hitters gave Schreiner two quick outs. With Tano at the plate, a dropped foul ball extended the at bat, which the junior took advantage with a single. Savala followed for her second consecutive hit at third base, and then Paige Rasmussen (El Campo, Texas) reached on an error back to the pitcher. The pair of defensive miscues allowed Hale to smack what would be the game-winning hit.
Schreiner got a one-out single in the sixth by Stoker, but she was left at first as Rasmussen recorded her lone strikeout of the game and got a groundout to third to keep the lead at one.
UD erupted its last turn to bat with four runs on three hits. A walk and singles by Liz Cordova (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Tano loaded the bases. The third error in the last two innings and of the game allowed UD to take a 4-2 lead. Rasmussen then earned a hard-fought walk, that included fouling off 14 straight balls. The 20-pitch plate appearance gave UD's starting pitcher an insurance run on the RBI. Hale and Torres added runs driven in by respectively being hit by pitch and singling up the middle.
Rasmussen closed out the complete game performance with 1-2-3 seventh that featured a sliding catch by Cordova in shallow center and diving grab by Julie Duenas (Houston, Texas) at third. A groundout to UD's All-SCAC Second Team representative completed the win and gave Dallas Head Coach Caitlynn Dykes her first SCAC Tournament win at the helm, after notching multiple ones with fellow SCAC member Trinity University.
Rasmussen shook off the first inning by going the distance and only allowing six base runners on five singles the rest of the way. Overall, Rasmussen has allowed just the two runs on 12 hits, while giving two walks, and has struck out five in 13 innings for both starts this postseason for Dallas.
The Crusaders offense collected nine hits on the day with Coutts smacking the only one for extra bases on a breezy morning with the wind coming in. Torres, Tano, and Savala recorded multi-hit days. Hale finished with a game-high and career-high three RBI. The freshman middle infielder had four all season entering the day.
Schreiner was led by Stoker with a 2-for-3 performance, as the Mountaineers logged seven hits. Bigley punched in the big two-RBI hit for the lone runs scored. Bell swiped the only stolen base attempt of the game. Moody was saddled with the loss for SU, going 6.2 innings in the circle. She was charged just one earned run, but was in the circle when all seven came in. She surrendered nine hits and five walks to go with a strikeout.
All nine runs scored in this game came with two outs.
Dallas keeps on playing in the double elimination tournament, which will be later today scheduled at 5:30 p.m. as the eighth game of the weekend slate. The winner of game six of the tournament, featuring fifth-seeded Trinity University and third-seeded Centenary College, will oppose them.
The Crusaders went 1-3 against Trinity, where Coach Dykes played from 2012-15 as a catcher and also volunteer coached a season after, in the regular season. The victory was UD's first SCAC win of the season. That series also saw the Crusaders tally eight runs to tie the season-high in a conference game, despite falling in the end result.
The Crusaders are winless this season against host Centenary, who defeated them in the first day of the tournament on a 1-0 walk-off in the seventh.