Lander has three-hit shutout to send TWU to first championship appearance
DENTON, Texas -- A three-hit shutout by junior pitcher Brandie Lander helped the Pioneers to a 3-0 win against St. Edward's and capture their first NCAA South Central Super Regionals Saturday afternoon. TWU will advance to the 2013 Division II Women's Softball Championship on May 23-27 in Salem, Va.
“I'm proud of girls for coming out here in a pressure situation and remaining calm and collected,” TWU head coach Richie Bruister said. “It is nice to be surrounded by greatness. Brandie did great again, and our pitching has just gotten better. We entered the post season with the best staff, and as the teams get tougher, they got better. It just shows the character of these players for wanting to go further and working hard like they have all season to be here.”
The Pioneers, serving as the visiting team in Saturday's game, scored a run in the top of the first inning to take an early lead. Junior Amanda Ruiz singled up the middle with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Junior Katie Hines' two-out single scored Ruiz from second.
TWU made it 2-0 in the top of the third on a lead-off home run by junior Haley Colwell. It's her seventh long ball of the season. The Pioneers added their final run in the top of the sixth. Junior Bailey Vrazel reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on throwing error.
Lander allowed just four base runners on three singles and one TWU error. She struck out six batters and picked up her 22nd win of the season.
“I was probably calmer than I have been all year,” Lander said. “Once we got that run in the first inning, it made it easier to go out and relax, and three runs was enough run support [Saturday].”
The Pioneers will advance to their first national championship tournament in any sport at TWU.
“We have nothing to lose and at this point it is just about going out and having fun,” Bruister added. “We had so much pressure on us this season and our conference has prepared us. It is time to let go and live it out by enjoying this and just continue playing more softball.”