SHREVEPORT, La. – It was another wild finish for the No. 6 Seed University of Dallas softball team, who came up a run short for the second day in a row to the No. 3 Seed Centenary College in a 9-8 final. After a pitcher's duel in Friday's first matchup that resulted in a walk-off in the seventh, Saturday's contest featured three ties and two lead changes.
All 17 runs came from the bottom of the third inning all, with the host team outscoring the lowest seed in the bracket 7-6 in the last two and a half innings. Even after allowing a four-run sixth to give Centenary the lead, UD cut the deficit to a run and had the tying runner at third base with two away. However, a groundout back to Centenary's Amberlee Nix helped lock down the team's third win of the tournament and advance to the next matchup with the No. 2 Seed Southwestern University in Saturday's nightcap.
Team Scores: Dallas (8), Centenary (9)
Team Records: Dallas (8-33), Centenary (18-22)
Pitcher Records: W) Amberlee Nix (6-10), L) Campo (3-13)
After two and a half scoreless innings, the Ladies scored for the first time in the tournament off Dallas starter, Paige Rasmussen (El Campo, Texas). UD's freshmen pitcher that had won the first elimination game hurled eight shutout frames over two games this tournament against the Ladies, before Margeaux Smith doubled to left center for the first run of the high-scoring game. Sydney Hurley added a single through the left side. A throw attempt by UD's Madison Coutts (Tampa, Fla.) got away to allow Smith to hustle in. However, that run would have been plated on the third straight hit that followed by Wendy Gillet.
Dallas had gone 16.2 defensive innings in the SCAC Tournament without an error.
Coutts started the fourth inning off with UD's first hit of the game on an infield single to second. A sacrifice fly by Mackenzie Tano (Wylie, Texas) sliced the deficit in half to right field. It also marked the first time Dallas had gotten a run against the Ladies' pitchers in 10 SCAC Tournament innings. Julie Duenas (Houston, Texas) and Katelyn Lazarek (Seattle, Wash.) also each advanced a base on the fly ball by Tano, and the two would move up again on a wild pitch – thus Duenas tying the scoreboard.
Coutts started a two-out rally in the fifth with a single through the right side. After a walk to Duenas and single up the middle by Liz Cordova (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Lazarek cleared the bases with a double to right field that fell out of the reach of a sliding Gonzalez, the center fielder.
The Ladies answered right back with three runs in the home half of the fifth highlighted by a Gillet double and Gonzalez triple for runs-batted-in. A wild pitch scored Gonzalez.
However, the back-and-forth thriller continued into the bottom of the inning, with the Ladies getting the final blow on four runs coming in. Two hits with an error by the pitcher Karina Campo (Georgetown, Texas) on a sacrifice bunt attempt in between the knocks loaded the bases. Hurley singled in two runs to tie the game at seven. After a successful double steal scored Smith for the go-ahead run, Gillet smacked her third double and made her a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate in the game to push what would be the game-deciding run of the ballgame.
Lazarek gave Dallas life by reaching on a wild pitch that had followed a strikeout. With one away still, Tano singled to right and advanced to second on a throw that went to third and saw Lazarek just beat it. Savala grounded out for an RBI and the second out, and a ground out would close the book in UD's second elimination game on the day. The eight runs matched a season-high against a conference opponent a third time this spring.
Coutts led the Crusaders with a personal-high three hits and drove in and plated a pair of runs. Her two runs scored marked the first time the freshman catcher achieved that many in a game, while the multiple RBI day matched her other total in a 10-8 setback to Austin College (Apr. 7). Lazarek notched the other multi-hit game with a 2-for-4 and scored all three runs on the team's lone extra-base hit of the contest. Dallas registered nine hits altogether in the second game in a row.
Centenary tagged 11 hits, with five for extra bases. Hitters 3 through 5 (Smith, Hurley, and Gillet) combined for 8-11 with five RBI.
Campo was saddled for the loss going three innings in her first tournament appearance in the circle. She allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits in the last three innings. She walked and struck out one.
Nichole Aldridge went 3.2 innings in the start. Her line included two runs, hits, walks, and strikeouts. Hannah Scoggin, Friday's winner in the head-to-head matchup gave up five runs on just as many hits in two innings. Nix would notch the last four outs as she worked around two hits and a baserunner that reached on her only strikeout.
Duenas had her second hitless outing of the day and of the tournament to finish tied second for individual season total hits of 52. The third baseman did draw a pair of walks and scored twice, which increased her total to three in the two games on the day.
Centenary has eliminated the Crusaders three of the past four seasons in tournament play. Dallas did match its win total from 2018 with eight after upsetting Schreiner University. The Crusaders have earned three elimination game upsets in the SCAC tournament as the lowest seed in the bracket. The others were 2013 in Irving against Centenary (five teams), and 2014 over Austin College in a 4-0 shutout in Seguin, Texas.