BELTON, TX — The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor softball team split its opening day at the 2019 American Southwest Conference Softball Championship Tournament, edging LeTourneau University 1-0 before falling 2-1 to East Texas Baptist. The Cru improved to 27-15 on the season and continues tournament play on Saturday.
UMHB played LeTourneau to a pitcher’s duel with neither team able to generate a scoring offense. Kat Reed started the game in the circle for the Cru, allowing just five base runners in the first four innings. UMHB got into some trouble in the top of the fifth frame when LeTourneau loaded the bases, but Reed forced a lineout to keep the game scoreless. LeTourneau saw one base runner in scoring position in the top of the sixth inning but catcher Emily Bounds threw out a stolen-base attempt to end the inning scoreless. The YellowJackets put one more in scoring position in the seventh inning before Hannah Wolfe caught a foul ball to keep LeTourneau off the board. Kourtney Cummings opened the bottom of the seventh inning with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Alexis Galvan. Avery Kelly followed that with an RBI single, scoring Cummings for the 1-0 Cru victory. Reed earned the win in the circle for UMHB, throwing a complete seven innings with four hits allowed and five strikeouts. Leigh Luker took the loss for LeTourneau, giving up four hits and one run with one strikeout. UMHB totaled one run on four hits with no errors while the YellowJackets had four runs and one error.
The Cru advanced to face tournament No. 1 seed and host East Texas Baptist University in a semifinal match. The Tigers took a one-run lead in the third inning when Mariah Delgado scored off an RBI single from Corley Carpenter. ETBU held that lead until the top of the seventh inning when UMHB scored the equalizer. Cummings got on base with a one-out double before advancing to third the next at-bat. With two outs in the inning, Galvan slammed an RBI single to score Cummings and even the contest at 1-1. Delgado sealed the win for the Tigers in the bottom of that frame, scoring off an RBI single from Daniella Solis for the 2-1 victory. Four Crusaders recorded hits for the Cru while Cummings scored the lone run and Galvan recorded the solo RBI. Bayleigh Grogan took the loss for the Cru, pitching 4.1 innings with two runs and five hits allowed. Grogan struck out four batters and walked just two in the contest. Kat Reed opened the game in the circle for the Cru, pitching two innings with three hits allowed and one strikeout. Presley Cox earned the win for East Texas Baptist, throwing a complete seven innings with four hits and one run allowed. UMHB totaled one run on four hits while the Tigers had two runs on eight hits.
The Cru is currently ranked fifth in the West Region in the NCAA Division III Regional rankings, released today. ETBU leads the West with Linfield and Texas Lutheran in second and third. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is one spot ahead of the Cru while Southwestern is in sixth and Whitworth rounds out the West in seventh. ETBU is also ranked third in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 poll.
UMHB returns to tournament action on Saturday, May 4th in an 11 a.m. semifinal elimination match against Hardin-Simmons University. The winner of that match advances to face East Texas Baptist in the championship match at 2 p.m. An if-needed game will follow at 6 p.m. The winner of the 2019 ASC Softball Championship Tournament will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships.