May 21, 2010

By Dan Myers
Special to

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Three runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings were the difference for East Texas Baptist as the Tigers defeated Moravian, 8-4, Friday in the fourth and final quarterfinal match-up in the NCAA Division III softball championship at Carson Park.

Alicia Wright and Meghan Fisher led off the sixth with singles and Stacy Havner's infield single pulled ETBU (37-12) to 4-3 in the sixth. Shelbee Young's bloop single to left loaded the bases for Adrienne Meier with just one out. She followed with a sharp single to center, scoring two runs and giving the Tigers their first lead at 5-4. Lauryn McCurry's sac bunt moved a pair of runners into scoring position, but with two outs, Brooke Martin's fly out to left ended the inning.

Brook Kowal led off the bottom of the sixth for Moravian with a pinch hit double off the wall in left but ETBU relief pitcher Ayrika Henderson retired the next three hitters.

Baptist loaded the bases again in the seventh and Havner took advantage. Her ground out to short was the second out but drove in the Tigers' sixth run of the night. An error on Young's grounder to second extended the inning and allowed another run to score. Meier followed with an RBI single to right field, pushing the Baptist lead to four runs and providing the Tigers with plenty of insurance for Henderson, who worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh to secure the win.

She earned the victory, tossing 2 1/3 shutout innings.

The Greyhounds (34-13) got on the board with a pair of runs in the first, showing both plate discipline and aggressiveness.

Leadoff hitter Stephanie Falzerano drew a lead off walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count. A bunt single moved her up to second and an infield single loaded the bases with nobody out. Amanda Dizinno grounded out to first but got the game's first RBI. An error allowed Jenna Carmon aboard and allowed another run to score, but Wright, who started the game on the mound for Baptist, worked out of the jam, thanks in large part to a nice diving catch by Porsha Harrison in center field to end the inning.

Carmon allowed a two out baserunner in each the first and third innings, but was able to get the next hitter both times. She helped her own cause with two outs in the bottom of the third with a solo home run over the wall in left field.

ETBU finally got on the board in the fourth inning. Carmon allowed another two out baserunner, but this time, Fisher made her pay by blasting a two-run home run over the left field fence, pulling the Tigers within one at 3-2. An error and a single to right by Havner extended the inning but Carmon got Ashton Brey to line out back to the pitcher to end the threat.

Amanda Paulus tripled to lead off the bottom half of the fourth, but Wright forced two ground outs and a pop out to get out of the jam unscathed. Wright wasn't as lucky in the fifth inning as Paulus singled to center driving in Carmon to make it 4-2. That run forced Wright from the game after 4 2/3 innings of work.

East Texas Baptist will play in the winner's bracket tomorrow evening against Christopher Newport at 6:30 p.m. Moravian will play in the elimination bracket Saturday afternoon against Eastern Connecticut State at 1:30 p.m.