OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The No. 1 seeded Spring Hill College softball team opened the 2014 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round with a 2-1 win over the MidAmerica Nazarene University Pioneers at Ann Lacy Stadium on Monday.
Spring Hill grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning when shortstop Shea Blanchard brought in leftfielder Jenna Charnock from 3rd base with an infield grounder that was thrown away at 1st base by Pioneer pitcher Megan Schwindler.
The Badgers plated a crucial second run in the top of the 6th inning as third baseman Lea Kittrell beat out a two-out infield single that scored first baseman Elise deBruler from 3rd base who had led off the frame with a double against the wall in left-centerfield.
SHC starter Caroline Sagrera (37-9) didn't allow a runner past 2nd base until the bottom of the 6th inning when the No. 4 seeded Pioneers (26-14) scored a run by stringing together three singles sandwiched around a groundout, but the All-America right hander ended the threat with two consecutive strikeouts.
Sagrera went the distance in the win and gave up six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts while Schwindler (19-8) allowed seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
On offense, deBruler and designated player Mary Beth Glass each had a pair of hits for Spring Hill. Third baseman Vanessa Arandules and first baseman Chelsey Streibich also had two hits for the Pioneers.
Spring Hill (41-12) moves on to face No. 2 seeded and tournament host Oklahoma City University (50-11) on Tuesday at 12 p.m. in the winners' bracket. The loser will play again on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in an elimination game while the winner immediately moves into Wednesday's championship game.