GULF SHORES, Ala. - (SU vs. SGU Box Score) (OIT vs. MU Box Score) Defending national champion Oregon Tech and Shorter (Ga.) were victorious on day one of pool play at the NAIA Softball National Championship. The event is being held at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex for the second-straight year.
Oregon Tech used 13 hits to beat Madonna (Mich.), 5-2, and Shorter rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to down St. Gregory's (Okla.), 5-2. The Hustlin' Owls used a four-run, six-hit sixth inning to beat Madonna.
Taylor Schmidt picked up the complete-game win for Oregon Tech, limiting Madonna to two runs on four hits, with four strikeouts. Sara Coates led the Hustlin' Owls with three hits, while Jackie Barley finished with a homer and two RBI for Madonna.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the sixth, Oregon Tech exploded with six hits and four runs. Janelle Cromie started the rally with a two-run bomb. The final two runs came with two outs on RBI-hits from Shauna Collins and Jess Plummer.
Like Oregon Tech, Shorter spotted St. Gregory's a pair of runs in the first, but managed a 5-2 win. Kayla Byrom was the winner after allowing two unearned runs on six hits in seven innings of work. Jackie Castaneda and Whitney Hood each drove in a pair for Shorter, while Emily Ledinski finished 2-for-4 at the plate for St. Gregory's.
Hood's 2-run home run in the second tied the game at 2-2 for Shorter, then the team pushed ahead 4-2 with two runs in the fourth, without the benefit of a hit. Two walks and two errors aided the rally. Brooke Bryan scored the inning's first run on an errant throw, and the final run came home thanks to a bases loaded walk.
In Pool G on Friday, Oregon Tech will face St. Gregory's at Noon CDT and Shorter will battle Madonna at 5 p.m.
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