COLUMBUS, Ga. (AUM Athletics) - Katie Spain launched a three-run homer and Cassie Daniels tossed a three-hit shutout to lead the No. 2 seed Auburn Montgomery softball past No. 7 seed Lindsey Wilson, 3-0, in the NAIA Softball World Series Saturday.
With the win, the Warhawks improved to 41-6 on the year, while the Blue Raiders fell to 49-10 overall. AUM will not take on Southern States Athletic Conference rival William Carey in the winner's bracket Monday at 7 p.m. EST. LWC will challenge No. 4 seed St. Gregory's in an elimination game Monday at 10 a.m.
"I am really excited about the way our team came out and played today," head coach Chris Steiner-Wilcoxson said. "I thought our approaches at the plate were very good and our defense was really solid. Cassie had great command of all her pitches and threw a very strong game. (Katie) Spain came up with a huge hit for our team, but she has been a consistent force for the past two seasons. She was patient at the plate and went with the pitches she was thrown. I was also proud of our slappers for getting on base and giving the middle of our lineup a chance to drive them in. This was a great effort and great team win."
In the contest, AUM pounded out eight hits, putting four of them together in the three-run fifth inning. Leadoff hitter Amie Kelly and two-hole hitter Therese Byrne each beat out infield singles, brining Spain to the plate. Spain followed by sending a 1-1 pitch from Jordan Hood (25-3) over the fence in right-centerfield, plating the only three runs of the game.
The Warhawks also had opportunities to score in the third and fourth innings. In the third inning, Kelly and Byrne were each on base with two outs, but Spain retired on a sharp line out to shortstop. In the fourth inning, consecutive two-out singles by Jade Sasser and Katie Brinkman, followed by a LWC error, loaded the bases for AUM with two outs, but Hood struck out the final hitter of the inning to retire the threat.
For AUM, Daniels kept the Blue Raiders in check the entire game, getting better as the game went on. After surrendering a pair of singles in the second inning and a walk and a single in the fourth inning, Daniels retired the final 10 batters in order to pick up her 18th victory of the season. She struck out nine in picking up her 10th shutout of the year. The Blue Raiders did not have a runner reach third base all game.
Kelly and Byrne each collected two hits for the Warhawks, while Kelly added a stolen base. Spain drove in the three runs, RBIs 35, 36 and 37 on the year, with her ninth home run of the season. Lauren Shaw, Sasser and Brinkman also had hits.
Hood took the loss for LWC, tossing just four innings and allowing eight hits. She struck out five before giving way to Casey Bryan, who tossed the final two frames.
(Courtesy: AUM Athletics)