Sunday, April 20, 2014
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UMHB season ends 29-16

The UMHB softball team played five games in the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament. The Cru defeated Louisiana College twice and Howard Payne once, but twice could not overcome the power of the No. 1 ranked U.T.-Tyler.

In the tournament opener, Caitlin Bollier provided all of the offense the UMHB softball team needed as the Cru topped Louisiana College 4-2. The Wildcats grabbed a 1-0 lead on Courtney Ivey's RBI single in the top of the first inning and had runners at second and third before UMHB's Rebekah Ragsdale worked her way out of the jam.

The Cru battled back to tie it in the bottom of the fourth when Tori Gomez led off with a double. A sacrifice bunt moved pinch-runner Brittany Moreno to third and she scored on Bollier's single to even the game at one. LC put runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings, but could not push across the go-ahead run in either frame. Leanne Hinojosa reached on an error to open the bottom of the sixth and moved to third on Gomez's double. Bollier followed with a one-out, three-run home run to give UMHB a 4-1 lead. An error, walk and wild pitch put runners on first and third with no outs in the top of the seventh inning, and an RBI fielder's choice cut the lead to 4-2. Halle Sabo retired the next two hitters to nail down the victory for the Cru to move to 6-6 on the season. Sabo did not allow a hit or earned run in one and two-thirds innings of relief work. Ragsdale scattered six hits and struck out four in her five and a third innings of work. Bollier and Gomez each had two hits for UMHB as the rest of the line-up combined for just one. Bollier also drove in four runs for the Cru.

In Thursday's nightcap, UMHB gave up two-run home runs in three straight innings U.T.-Tyler and could not generate the offense to overcome it in a 6-0 loss to U.T.-Tyler Thursday night in an American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament winner's bracket game. The loss snapped the Cru's 13-game winning streak and dropped UMHB to into the loser's bracket. The game was scoreless into the bottom of the fourth inning. Ashley Endsley blasted a one-out two-run homer to give U.T.-Tyler a 2-0 lead. UMHB put runners on second and third base with no outs in the top of the fifth, but could not push across a run to cut the deficit. Raven Rodriguez added a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to stretch the lead and Rachel Howell's two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth inning closed out the scoring. UMHB put a runner in scoring position in the top of the seventh but could not convert that base runner into a score.

Ragsdale took the loss for the Cru to drop to 15-5 on the season. She scattered four hits and gave up four runs in four and two-thirds innings of work. Five different players had hits in the game for UMHB. Heather Abshire earned the win for U.T.-Tyler to move her record to 19-1 and Kelsey Batten notched her fourth save in relief. Endsley and Lauren Robenalt had two hits apiece to lead the Patriots eight-hit attack.

On Friday, UMHB rallied for a three-run fifth inning with a 3-1 victory over Howard Payne and moved into another elimination game Friday afternoon. Howard Payne took a 1-0 lead on Tylene Middleton's sacrifice fly in the top of the third inning. It stayed that way into the bottom of the fifth before UMHB responded with a three-run inning. Hannah Parker drew a one-out walk and moved to third on Heather Smith's double. Both runners scored on Chandler Henson's single through the right side of the infield. Henson moved to second on Janie Neyland's infield single and advanced to third on an error. She came around to score the third run on Kourtney Bevers' RBI squeeze bunt. Ragsdale pitched her way out of a sixth inning jam that saw HPU put runners at second and third with two outs and she then set the Yellow Jackets down in order in the top of the seventh inning. Ragsdale scattered three hits and allowed just one run in a complete-game performance in the circle for the Cru.

In the second game, UMHB exploded for six runs in the top of the seventh inning to blow open a close game as the Cru knocked off Louisiana College 10-2. The loss eliminated LC and set up another rematch with UT-Tyler.

The Cru took a 2-0 lead on Sabo's two-run single in the top of the first inning. Chandler Henson's solo homer made it 3-0 UMHB in the top of the fourth inning. LC cut the lead to 3-2 on Emorie Nugent's RBI double and Stephanie Jaeger's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. A run-scoring error pushed UMHB's lead to 4-2 in the top of the sixth. Then the Cru put the game out of reach with that six-run seventh. Another error scored the first run, Kelsey Vann singled home a run, Gomez ripped a two-run double and Ragsdale and Moreno added RBI doubles to close out the scoring.

Moreno led UMHB with three hits and Bevers, Vann, Gomez and Sabo all had two hits apiece for the Cru.

UMHB team never recovered from U.T.-Tyler's five-run third inning in the elimination game, as the Patriots ended the Cru's season 9-3 in the American Southwest Conference Tournament Semifinals Friday night. UMHB finishes 29-16 with the loss. U.T.-Tyler improved to 41-3 on the year with the victory and advances to Saturday's Championship Game against East Texas Baptist University. Heather Abshire's two-run home run gave U.T.-Tyler a first inning lead. Parker cut it to 2-1 with an RBI double in the bottom of the second. The Patriots then broke the game open with five two-out runs in the top of the third. Kelsie Batten's three-run double was the biggest hit in that frame. The Cru closed the gap to 7-2 on Sabo's RBI ground out in the bottom of that inning, but U.T.-Tyler answered with a run in the top of the fourth. Heather Smith singled home a run for UMHB in the fifth, but the Patriots answered that run with one more in the sixth to close out the scoring. Ragsdale took the loss in the circle for UMHB to drop to 16-6 on the year. Gomez had two of the Cru's seven hits in the game. Batten tossed a complete-game, seven-hitter to raise her record to 20-1 for the Patriots. Joey Cronin and Brittney Batten had two hits apiece for U.T.-Tyler.

U.T.-Tyler fell to No. 12 East Texas Baptist 6-2 in the ASC Finals Saturday afternoon, giving ETBU the automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Softball Championship Tournament.

UMHB will now have to hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III National Championships. If the Cru does not receive a bid, the loss closes out the careers of UMHB seniors Bollier, Moreno and Ariel Kemmerer.