Staying alive to play another day in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament #6 East Texas Baptist University (45-9) unleashed for 11 runs with two home runs to advance past #7 Trine University (43-6), 11-3. Shelby Parker finished the game with her 200th strikeout of the year and now holds ETBU’s single season record for strikeouts surpassing Alicia Taylor’s 198 strikeouts from 2002.
“I was definitely pleased with how our kids showed up today as they did a great job with their at-bats,” says head coach Janae Shirley. “Shelby (Parker) gave us an opportunity to win and that’s all we ask of her and she did a good job.”
Finding their offense early in the game, ETBU scored 10 runs in the first three innings with a five-run third inning. Jayme Perez started the game off smashing the fifth pitch from Trine’s Bree Fuller over the left field fence for her 12th home run of the year. That shot was her third lead-off home run in the post season and seventh since post season started.
“Jayme Perez started the game well for us and that set the tone for us,” says Shirley. “She is a phenomenal hitter and led off the game for us several times with a home run and that sets the tone for us and other batters.”
Romero, who now has six RBI in two games, gave ETBU their second home run of the game in the second inning to make it 4-0. Taking a 3-2 count, she hit her second home run in two days in almost the same spot as she did vs. Tufts as the momentum continued in ETBU’s way.
Shirley says, “Alyssa has done a phenomenal job and she has been a great player for our program for four years and she does exactly what you expect a senior to do at the national championships. She has come in and led the way and has come up big.”
ETBU’s offense gave enough runs for Parker to continue her dominance in the circle as she moved to 24-6 on the year. Parker through four scoreless innings and then came back in the fifth after Shelby Phillips faced two batters. Parker finished the day with three strikeouts giving up just three hits and one earned run.
“I believe in my team and as long as I pitching good I know they are going to hit the ball and make the plays for us,” says Parker. “Our team is real close and we love each other and believe in each other and I think that is the key to our success.”
With a two-run deficit facing Trine in the bottom of the first inning, the Thunder had runners on the corners with two outs. Getting out of the jam, Trine’s Leah Hall flied out to short stop Kaitlyn Hollingshead as ETBU stopped any chance of the Thunder scoring.
It only took one pitch in the second inning to make it 4-0 when Romero battled through the 3-2 count for her ninth home run of the year. Lacy Liles finished off the scoring in the second inning with a single down the right field line for the five-run lead. The flood gates then opened up for ETBU in the third inning as they brought in five runs as two were earned. Romero collected her third RBI in the as she moved the lead to 6-0 with a single to left field. A dropped fly ball on Jessica Bowden’s at-bat allowed Perez to come in for the seventh run. Lacey Lindsey followed with a first-pitch swing that led her to second base as both Bowden and Romero scored extending the lead to nine. The final run of the inning came two batters later as Danielle Thomas touched home on an illegal pitch making it 10-0.
In the fifth inning, Liles hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed Romero to complete the scoring for ETBU. Trine didn’t go away easily as they scored two runs off of relief pitcher Phillips before Parker came back in finishing up the game for her 24th victory of the year.
Romero, Bowden, and Lindsey all had two hits as Romero led the way with three RBI. Lindsey and Liles added two RBI and Perez and Hollingshead both had one RBI.
ETBU will play at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night against Wisconsin-Whitewater game at Suddenlink Field.