GULF SHORES, Ala. - Brenau (Ga.) won Pool A with a 2-0, eight-inning win over Concordia (Calif.) and Bethany (Kan.) defeated Talladega (Ala.), 7-3, Saturday at the NAIA Softball National Championship. Brenau will play Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), Monday at 10 a.m. CDT on day one of double-elimination bracket play.
The Golden Tigers' Anna Maness and the Eagles' Katie Cotta each impressed, but it was Maness and Brenau that came out winners. Maness blanked the top-ranked Eagles on five hits in eight innings of work. She fanned six and walked one. Cotta was the tough-luck loser after fanning 13 and allowing two runs on six hits in a complete-game effort. Jennifer Simons finished 3-for-3 at the dish for Concordia, while Sally Duggan went 2-for-3 for Brenau.
After Concordia failed to score in the bottom of the seventh with runners at the corners and one out, Brenau took advantage in the top of the eighth. With two outs and a runner at first, Duggan was hit by a pitch to make it first and second with two outs. Then, Taylor Kelly stepped up to the plate and stroked a two-run double to deep left-center.
Maness came back out to the circle and sat the Eagles down in order to keep the score at 2-0.
The Swedes used their team speed to pick up the victory and set a pair of NAIA Softball Championship records in the process. Bethany set a new team single-game record for stolen bases with 10, breaking the previous record of eight held by Lubbock Christian (May 19, 2011) and Tarkio (1988). The Swede's Jasmine Zaker set a new individual single-game stolen base record, with five, breaking the old record of four, set in 1988 by Tarkio's Dana Dawson.
Jennifer Garcia got the win with 4 innings of work. She allowed two earned runs on three hits in four innings, while Hollind Englert picked up the save with 3 innings of shutout relief. Zaker added a 4-for-4 day at the plate to go with her five steals and Nicole Felker finished 2-for-4.
Bethany went ahead for good with two runs in the third thanks to a pair of infield hits and three stolen bases.
For the complete schedule, click here.