May 21, 2009

Courtesy of UIndy Athletics

SALEM, Va.- Fourth-ranked Angelo State grabbed a 3-1 win over the University of Indianapolis in the opening game of the 2009 NCAA Division II Softball Championships at the James I. Moyer Complex Thursday afternoon.  UIndy (36-20) led 1-0, but it would not hold up as the Rambelles scored three times in the final four innings to take the win.

The first real threat in the game came in the bottom of the second inning when the Rambelles' leadoff runner reached on a single and advanced on an illegal pitch.  With a runner at third and one out, Indianapolis starter Megan Russell (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) got a strikeout and wiggled out of the jam unscathed when she snared a hot shot back up the box, keeping the game scoreless.

Lindsey Gustine (Circleville, Ohio/Circleville) got the third inning started with a single to left field and advanced on an errant attempted pick-off throw.  After two were down, Russell drove a 3-1 pitch through the left side of the infield to plate the game's first run and five UIndy a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the frame, Russell appeared to be headed out of trouble again, but a double steal helped ASU score their first run as Sandy James sneaked home when Macy Baker broke for second.

ASU (49-8) appeared to have another big scoring opportunity in the fourth.  With two down, a Greyhound error extended the inning and the bases would eventually be loaded with the leadoff batter in Sandy James at the plate.  Russell retired her on a fly to right to protect the tie score.

She couldn't keep the potent ASU lineup quiet in the next inning as back-to-back deep doubles plated another run.  The Rambelles grabbed another run in the sixth on another RBI double and ASU owned a 3-1 margin heading into the final half-inning.

Angelo starter Chelsea Nelson got the Hounds in order in the seventh to pick up her 31st win of the season.  Russell was the hard-luck loser, falling to 19-11 on the year, despite allowing just six hits to the slugging Rambelle team.

UIndy will play the loser of this afternoon's North Georgia v. Dixie State game.  That game will get underway Saturday with a noon first pitch.

Notes: The Greyhounds are making their first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships ... UIndy is now 7-4 all-time in the NCAA tournament (2008, 2009) ... Russell was named to the National Fast Pitches Coaches Association All-America Second Team Wednesday ... Thursday, Russell was named a Daktronics Third Team All-American, her second time with that honor (2007) ... Angelo State came into the ballgame with a Lone Star Conference-record 89 homers.