Brunson hits tie-breaking triple to propel Central Oklahoma past Armstrong
SALEM, Va. -– Kalynn Schrock dominated in the pitching circle and Kaylee Brunson came through with a tie-breaking triple to lift Central Oklahoma past No. 4-ranked Armstrong Atlantic 5-2 Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Division II Championship finals.
It was the sixth consecutive postseason win for the No. 19-ranked Bronchos.
Schrock gave up just two hits and no walks while striking out 15 – including 10 of the final 12 batters she faced – in improving to 31-6 on the season and 6-0 in the postseason.
Brunson had the biggest hit of the game with a two-run triple in the fifth inning that snapped a 2-2 tie. Hayley Hudson added a sacrifice fly to push UCO's lead to 5-2 and that was plenty of cushion with Schrock in control.
“Kalynn was fantastic [Thursday], like she has been all season,” head coach Genny Stidham said. “She really had good movement on her pitches and was finding her spots all day. Kacie [Edwards] and Kaylee had a couple of big hits for us and we were able to beat a really good team.”
Edwards' big hit came in the third when she blasted her 19th home run of the season to give the Bronchos a 2-0 lead. Hannah Justus had reached on an error to start the inning and Edwards – after staying alive when the Pirates dropped a pop-up in foul territory – drove the next pitch over the left-center field wall.
AAU had its first and only two hits of the game in the bottom of the third to tie it, getting a one-out single and two-out, two-run homer.
It stayed 2-2 until the fifth when UCO surged in front to stay.
Justus and Ally Dziadula led off with back-to-back infield singles before advancing a base on a wild pitch and Brunson drove them both in with a triple to right-center. Hudson padded the lead with a fly ball to center field that easily scored Brunson.
Schrock did the rest, retiring the final 12 batters of the game and striking out the side three times – including in the bottom of the seventh.
Dziadula had two of UCO's seven hits.