AUM advances in NAIA softball World Series
COLUMBUS, Ga. - For the second straight game, Auburn Montgomery used a strong pitching performance from Cassie Daniels and a home run to provide all of its scoring, as it defeated No. 10 William Carey 2-1 in the NAIA Softball World Series Monday evening.
Saturday, the Warhawks won their opener 3-0 on a three-run homer by Katie Spain. Tonight clean-up hitter Lauren Shaw did the damage, connecting on a 0-2 pitch and lofting a two-run bomb in the third inning.
With the win, the Warhawks improved to 42-6 on the year and will now take on No. 5 seed Reinhardt (47-8) Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern. The Eagles eliminated AUM in last year’s World Series and collected a 4-1 victory against the Warhawks earlier this season. Prior to her arrival at AUM, head coach Chris Steiner-Wilcoxson spent three seasons (2005-07) as the skipper of the Eagles.
Daniels made the two runs stand up, scattering just a pair of hits and walking three, while striking out seven. The junior allowed her first hit in the game 5 1/3 innings in, losing the no-hitter on a bunt that ended three feet from home plate.
While Daniels stifled William Carey at the plate, the Warhawks picked up seven hits against starter Brittany Lang (24-4) in just three innings. AUM stranded two on base in the first inning, after Therese Byrne was thrown out at home stretching. With runners at second and third, Lang retired the side when Jade Sasser grounded out.
Kayla Hale led off the second inning with a single, but Lang again battled back and retired the next three to eliminate the threat.
In the third inning, Shaw delivered the two-out homer to provide the game’s first two runs and put the Warhawks on top.
Despite the no-hit bid, Daniels worked out of trouble in the first, sixth and seventh innings, as the Crusaders (48-11) had runners on third base each frame.
In the opening inning, Relanda McFarland led off the game with a walk, before moving around to third with one out following a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base. Daniels helped her own cause when she caught a liner back to the circle and doubled McFarland off at third to end the threat.
In the sixth inning, the Crusaders cut the margin in half with a single run on a sacrifice fly by Sarah Beckman. The Warhawks helped WCU by extending the inning on a fielding error, but Daniels slammed the door by getting clean-up hitter Jasmine Shelby to fly out to right field. Hannah Cook-Kelley led off the seventh inning with a single, before pinch runner Katy White moved around to third with two outs, but Daniels sealed the victory with a strike out of Tiffany De Vore.
Byrne, Shaw and Hale all had two hits for the Warhawks, while Spain and Sasser also added hits. Byrne chipped in her team-leading 15th stolen base of the year.
Lang took the loss for William Carey, lasting three innings and surrendering both runs. Brittany LeBlanc allowed just one hit in three innings of relief.
As a result of the loss, the Crusaders now face an elimination game Tuesday against College of Idaho at 4 p.m.