Story by Alfred Kojima, NAIA Media Assistant
Pictures courtesy of NAIAPictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. – (Box Score) Senior Nikayla Skinner recorded her second shutout victory of the World Series as No. 10 College of Idaho notched a 1-0 victory over No. 1 LSU Alexandria (La.), in an elimination game at the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series at the South Commons Softball Complex on Monday.
The Lady ‘Yotes continue play in the loser’s bracket on Tuesday at 4 p.m. EDT against the loser of No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and No. 6 William Carey (Miss.).
LSU Alexandria entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and was held to a total of eight base hits in two losses to conclude their season at 35-5 overall. The Generals had three hits on the day, two by junior Taylor Simon, which were both doubles.
The Lady Yotes (35-17) had four base hits and pushed across their run in the fifth inning via a wild pitch. Julia Henrie led off the frame with a double, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on the miscue by LSU Alexandria pitcher Kaycee Spears.
Skinner had eight strikeouts on the day to increase her World Series total to 28 through three games.
Of the 21 total outs in the game recorded against LSU Alexandria, 13 were in the air, including a key game-changing catch in the seventh inning.
In the final inning, Generals’ sophomore Racquel Granados singled to left and advanced to second on a fielding error. Sophomore Ellen Bairnsfather entered the game as a pinch runner. Junior Heather Bunn stepped up and drove a ball to deep left center field. College of Idaho senior left fielder Briana Brace raced to the fence, reached up and took away a 2-run home run for the first out of the inning. Two infield pop flies ended the game.
“I definitely had to go back and I said to myself I’m not letting this ball get out.” Brace said. “It was a game changer for sure.”
Skinner improved to 26-9 on the year as she has now tossed all 23.0 innings in the World Series for the Lady ‘Yotes. She has maintained an ERA of 0.30 during the three-game stretch.
“We were able to make the big pitches when we needed them, they got runners on and put some pressure on our defense,” College of Idaho head coach Al Mendiola said. “The biggest play was our left fielder. She did a great job of reading the ball and bringing it back in.”
The 34th Annual Softball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council.
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