Oregon Tech Continues Run at NAIA Title with Pair of Wins
Taylor Schmidt allowed four hits versus sixth-ranked Belhaven University in 4-2 win in game 2 to earn her first victory of the week at the NAIA National Tournament. (photo by Kelly Caleb)
GULF SHORES, Ala. – With two dominating performances at the plate, and in the circle, No. 18 Oregon Tech remains one-of-two unbeaten teams at the NAIA National Softball Tournament after play on Monday. Oregon Tech finished the day with 23 hits, including three triples, two homeruns and a double, while Jackie Imhof recorded her fourth win and first save of the tournament, and Taylor Schmidt went 4 1/3 innings in game 2 to post her first pitching victory of the week.
Oregon Tech, one of just four remaining teams at the national championship, is now 5-0 in tournament action and will take a 40-12 overall mark up against top-rated Cal Baptist University Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. PDT. The winner of that contest will advance to the NAIA national championship game on Wednesday, while the loser will play at 3:30 PDT on Tuesday in a loser-out contest.
Danielle Sayres Slides Home Safe in Game 1 Today (Photo by Kelly Caleb)
All Oregon Tech games will be broadcast live in the Klamath Basin on KLAD 960 AM with Bobby Thompson and Mike Garrard calling the action. Tuesday’s broadcast begins at 10 a.m. PDT with the pregame show with the first pitch slated for 10:30 a.m. Live Stats are also available at oitsports.com.
Oregon Tech pounded out 11 hits, while Jackie Imhof struck out 12 batters in a 7-1 win over seventh-ranked Lubbock Christian University this morning in the opening game of the double-elimination championship round.
With the win in game 1, the Owls then faced sixth-ranked Belhaven University in game 2 just 30 minutes later, and would hold on to a 4-2 victory to remain unbeaten in the eight-team double elimination tournament. Just four teams will remain in tournament play after the final two games of the loser’s bracket are played tonight.
In the opening game, Tech’s Sara Coates started the third inning with a single, while Kayde Schaefer bunted Danielle Sayres, running for Coates, to third. With two outs Andria Wheatley drove in one of her three RBI in the game on a single and moved to second on the throw to home. Ashleigh Larson then connected on her first hit of the series to drive in Wheatley to give OIT a 2-0 lead.
Andrea Wheatley is Greeted at Home After Hitting Homerun (photo by Kelly Caleb)
Schaefer singled to start the fifth inning, and on a 1-1 pitch Andria Wheatley hit her first-career homerun that cleared the right field wall to put the Owls up 4-0.
LCU made it 4-1 after scoring their first run of the game. Adrea Argee singled and next moved to second on a fly to deep left field. Latainna Eltsosie followed with a RBI double, while Melissa Hartkop reached first on an infield single. Facing the game-tying run at the plate, Imhof coaxed a ground ball and next stuck out her 11th batter to get out of the inning. It was the first run Imhof allowed in the first 27 innings of work at the NAIA National Tournament.
Oregon Tech put the game away with a three run sixth inning. Bree Larson singled with one out, Taylor Schmidt followed with a single and Coates capped the scoring with a three-run blast over the center field fence that gave OIT a 7-1 cushion.
With two outs LCU recorded their seventh hit off Imhof, but that would be it as a ground ball to Ashleigh Larson at second would end the game.
Sara Coates Hits Homerun (Photo by Kelly Caleb)
Wheatley and Coates finished with two hits, a homerun and three RBI apiece. Schmidt also recorded two hits, while Ashleigh Larson drove in a run on a single. Imhof moved to 23-5 overall after allowing seven hits and striking out 12 batters.
In game 2 versus sixth-ranked Belhaven College (Miss.) Oregon Tech led 2-1 after three innings.
Shauna Collins tripled to lead off the game and next scored on a balk to put Tech up 1-0. With two outs Jess Plummer tripled but ended up stranded at the bag.
Belhaven’s first batter walked, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and tied the game on a CeCee Austin single to left.
The Owls moved up 2-1 after Andria Wheatley led off the third with Tech’s third triple of the game. Plummer added her second RBI of the game on a suicide squeeze to give OIT the one run lead.
In the fourth inning the Owls added a run after back-to-back singles from Sara Coates and Kayde Schaefer. Elise Goodell, running for Coates, scored on Wheatley’s fourth RBI of the day after she sent a single up the middle.
Tech would hold on to the 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth, but Belhaven would add a run after taking advantage of a Tech error. With runners on first and third, Jackie Imhof replaced Taylor Schmidt in the circle. An error on an attempted stolen base plated the runner at third for Belhaven, but Imhof would close out the inning with a strikeout and groundout that sent Tech to bat in the fifth inning clinging to a 3-2 advantage.
OIT added a much needed insurance run in the sixth inning to move out to a 4-2 lead. Schmidt was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a groundout. After Schaefer was hit by a pitch, Collins gave OIT a two run lead on her second extra base hit of the game, a double down the right field line.
Kayde Schaefer Guns Down Lubbock Runner Trying to steal (Photo by Kelly Caleb)
Imhof allowed just one runner to reach in the sixth inning, as OIT continued to hold on to a two run advantage heading into the final inning.
Tech added a two out single in the seventh, but that would be it for the Owls in the final inning as Imof took to the circle for Belhaven’s last chance at a rally.
Imhof would pick up her fifth save of the season after closing the door in the seventh. Imhof allowed a two out infield single but got the last batter to strikeout to end the game as OIT held on to a 4-2 win.
Collins, Wheatley and Plummer finished with two hits each and would all triple and drive in a run in the win for the Owls. Schaefer recorded two hits, while Taylor Schmidt allowed just four hits in 4 1/3 innings to bump her overall mark to 17-4 on the year.
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