By Alfred Kojima, NAIA Media Assistant
Photo courtesy of www.naiapictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. – (Box Score) Senior centerfielder Magean De La Torre hit a three-run home run as part of a seven-run sixth inning for No. 4 seed Oklahoma City as the Stars rallied past No. 5 Cal State San Marcos, 8-3, in the opening round of the 2013 NAIA Softball National Championship final site at the South Commons Softball Complex on Friday. The Stars move into the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination event and will play the winner between No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) and No. 8 Reinhardt (Ga.) Monday at 4 p.m. EDT. The Cougars play No. 9 Saint Xavier (Ill.) in an elimination game Saturday at 10 a.m.
Junior Danielle Fox pitched four innings in scoreless relief, allowing just three hits and no walks while striking out five batters to earn her second victory of the season.
CSUSM (43-11) had eight base hits, three by junior first baseman Alex Miller. Freshman third baseman Tani Leasau had an RBI single in the second inning. An RBI single by junior designated hitter Brittney Guy and an unearned run in the third inning made it a 3-0 game.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, OCU rattled off seven hits, including five consecutive base knocks, highlighted by De La Torre’s 10th home run of the season. An RBI double by senior third baseman Drew Wright, followed by De La Torre’s home run gave OCU a 5-3 lead. Later with the bases loaded, senior shortstop Tori Joyner had a two-RBI single for a 7-3 lead. Freshman left fielder Shelbi Legg later scored on a bases-loaded walk to close out the scoring.
“We’ve got a great group of seniors,” OCU interim coach Bobbi Bridges said. “It was amazing. They have no quit in them .They knew they could do it and stepped up.”
LeeAnn Lopez and Jamie Rateliff posted two hits each. Eight of the 10 Stars finished the day with at least one hit.
Cortney Allen, who entered the contest No. 3 in the NAIA in lowest ERA (.910), got knocked around by the Stars’ bats. She fell to 34-6 on the year as she was hit with eight earned runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Overall, Cal State San Marcos defense has not given up more than seven runs all year. The 19-15 win at Redlands (Calif.) on Feb. 19, 2011 was the last time the Cougars allowed eight-or-more runs.
The championship is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council. This is the 33rd annual championship and takes place in the state of Georgia for the first time in NAIA softball history.
For more information on the national championship, click here.