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NAIA SB: Raiders Beat RedHawks; OIT Salvages Game 1

KTVL/Brian Schnee

(Courtesy: SOU Sports Information)

The stage got bigger for No. 8-ranked Southern Oregon on Monday afternoon but little else changed in its first game of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, a 9-1 romp over Simpson (Calif.) at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

The Raiders (45-12 overall), the top-seeded hosts of the four-team, double-elimination Southern Oregon Bracket, had all of their usual staples intact: Harlee Donovan broke the SOU record for home runs in a career with a two-run screamer to left-center in the first inning, Kelsey Randall electrified at shortstop and hit an inside-the-parker during the Raiders' four-run fourth, and Gabby Sandoval went to 23-6 with a six-hit complete game.

After leading the Raiders in hits during their Cascade Conference Tournament title run, freshman Hannah Shimek shined again, too, with four of the team's 17 hits. She also doubled, as did Rebecca Velasquez, who went 3-for-5.

SOU will play at 9 a.m. Tuesday against Northwestern College (Iowa) (36-11), which was a 4-2 winner over St. Francis in Monday's first game. Due to a thunderstorm in the forecast, bracket officials moved all of Tuesday's game times up two hours: St. Francis and Simpson will play an elimination game at 11:30 a.m., and the winner will play another elimination game against the SOU-Northwestern loser at 2 p.m.

Simpson (34-21), the Cal Pac Conference champion, lost to the Raiders for the fourth time this season.

The No. 4-seeded Red Hawks were in a 2-0 hole 10 pitches in after Shimek singled and Donovan ripped her 10th homer of the season, and the 21st of her two-year SOU career. Her single-season-record RBI total is up to 67 and, after drawing three more walks, she's reached base 38 games in a row.

All four of SOU's runs in the fourth were unearned against freshman pitcher Sydney Moorhead (18-6). With two out and no one on, Avery Morehead-Hutsell's bobbled grounder to shortstop started the rally, and Randall made it 4-0 with a shot to right field that lined off the top of the fence – just an inch or two from clearing it. Randall's slide was just in front of the throw home, and the next five Raiders behind her reached base with Velasquez and Tayler Walker delivering the run-scoring singles.

Walker – who, along with Morehead-Hutsell, went 2-for-3 – tacked on a second RBI in the seventh on a squeeze play.

The support was plenty for Sandoval, who struck out four and walked three over 110 pitches. In her 18th complete game of the season, the Red Hawks got their only run in the first on Mia Olvera's double to deep left that chased Mazzie Davies home. Emily Fuller added a pair of hits for the Red Hawks.

The Raiders are potentially just two wins from a return trip to the NAIA World Series. If they survive Tuesday, they'll play in the final round at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

GAME 1 – NORTHWESTERN (IA) 4, ST. FRANCIS (IL) 2

MEDFORD – The No. 3-seeded Northwestern (Iowa) Red Raiders broke up a scoreless pitchers' duel with all four of their runs in the fifth inning, pulling off a 4-2 upset of the No. 2-seeded St. Francis (Ill.) Fighting Saints in the Southern Oregon Bracket opener on Monday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

Senior pitcher Kayla Tindall (18-6) tossed a complete-game, two-hitter for the Red Raiders (36-11 overall) to get the best of Fighting Saints (38-8) ace Morghan Dieringer (22-3).

Emma Schnell and Madison Beaver set the table with singles in the fifth, and Amanda Everhart pushed the first run across on a suicide-squeeze play with one out. Beaver scored on a wild pitch, and RBI doubles later in the inning from Jessica Sandbulte and Emily Bosch made it 4-0.

St. Francis, ranked 15th in the NAIA, had won 22 of its last 23 games coming into the day. The Fighting Saints got on the board with Jensen Tchorzynski's solo home run in the sixth, but they scored their only other run unearned in the seventh.

Tindall struck out seven and worked around four walks. She and the Red Raiders advanced to play at 9 a.m. Tuesday against Southern Oregon. The Fighting Saints will play an elimination game at 11:30 a.m. against Simpson (Calif.), with the winner moving on to play another at 2 p.m.

(Courtesy: OIT Sports Information)

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – After winning a marathon 12-inning first game 3-2 over No. 22 Southeastern (Fla.) Monday, No. 20 Oregon Tech fell 5-2 to the NAIA’s top ranked team No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett in their second game. The Owls will now play at 9:00 am (Pacific) Tuesday against Northwestern Ohio for the right to play Georgia Gwinnett in the title game(s) in the Lawrenceville Bracket of the NAIA Opening Round and the right to move on to the NAIA World Series.

“I am really proud of how our ladies battled today,” said head coach Greg Stewart. “We pitched well both games and got some timely hits. After a long, hot day and having to win game one in 12 innings, I was real pleased with the way we played against the number 1 ranked team in the country at their park.”

Game 1 No.20 Oregon Tech 3 No.22 Southeastern (Fla.) 2 (12 innings)

Rachael Delamare hit a solo home run in game one in the top of the 12th to lift the Owls to the 3-2 victory. Loryn Willaim pitched all 12-innings to pick up the win for OIT as she improved to 13-2 on the year.

The Hooter took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning as Ali Graham hit her 7th home run of the year to deep left field scoring Tara Moates who had tripled to start the inning.

The Fire tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run homer of their own off the bat of Brandee Pietrazak in the 5th.

The game would stay that way until the 12th when Delamare crushed her 4th homer of the year.

Freshman Logan Nunes led the Owls with three-hits in the game and made two impressive catches in right field. Kiahna Brown added 2-hits the win.

Game 2 No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett 5 No.20 Oregon Tech 2

The Owls took an early lead on the nation’s top team with two-runs in the second inning on two-hits and a pair of Grizzly errors.

With the Owls leading 2-0, starting pitcher Sarah Abramson seemed to be rolling tallying 6-strikeouts in the first two and two thirds innings. Then GGC picked up a huge two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the third by Tori Robinson tying the game at 2-2.

Georgia Gwinnett College seemed to grab the momentum and carry that into the next inning as they scored two-more runs and chased Abramson from the game in the fourth.

GGC added a run in the 6th to take a 5-2 lead.

The Owls however did not go quietly in the 7th. With one-out, Nunes walked, McKenna Armantrout then doubled to put runners on second and third. After Shayna Ige grounded out, Sahalie Doe then drew a walk to bring the winning run to the plate in NAIA All-American Tara Moates who just missed and pooped out to centerfield to end the game.

Armantrout led Tech with 2-hits in the loss.

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