The late-night memorable victory keeps the tournament rolling for the Lions.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Multiple delays throughout the day didn’t seem to bother the fifth-seeded Texas A&M University-Commerce, softball team. They survived in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional tournament with a split of Thursday’s games which rolled into Friday.
After dropping a tight 4-3 game to top-seeded Oklahoma Christian in the winner’s bracket to start the day, the Lions won a 6-5 contest in the elimination game over sixth-seeded Texas A&M-Kingsville early Friday morning.
Every game for the Lions in the rest of the tournament will now be an elimination game. They will have a rematch of their first-round match at 3:00 pm Friday against Colorado Mesa. The Lions won the first meeting of the tournament, 4-3. The winner of that game will immediately turn around and face the loser of the noon game between Oklahoma Christian and No. 2 seed West Texas A&M.
EARLY GAME – Oklahoma Christian 4, A&M-Commerce 3
The Lions took early leads in the first and second innings, sat through a multi-hour rain delay, fell behind, and tried to chargeback before ultimately falling to the top seed.
Alyssa LeBlanc (Katy) started things for the Lions first, drawing a walk, moving to second on a Kinsie Hebler (Cy-Fair) walk, and scoring on an error for the 1-0 lead. The Eagles responded in the first on a similar sequence with a walk, wild pitch, single, and error, tying the game in the first inning.
A nearly three-hour rain delay halted the game amid that OC first inning, but this didn’t stop the Lions’ offensive momentum, as Uxua Modrego (Burlada, Spain) led off the second with a homer for a 2-1 lead. OC tied it in the bottom of the inning on a walk, steal, and a pair of wild pitches.
The Eagles took the lead in the fourth without putting the ball in play during a two-out rally. A string of five free passes on three walks and two hit batters gave OC the 4-2 lead.
The Lions narrowed the margin to the single run in the fifth on a Chealsea Slider (Texarkana – Texas High) RBI single, but A&M-Commerce stranded a pair.
Ta’Lyn Moody (Mansfield – Legacy) led off the sixth with a double and moved to third as the potential tying run, but was stranded there, and a perfect OC seventh handed the top seed the win.
Moody went 2-for-3 in the game with two steals, and Hebler and Slider each drew two walks. LeBlanc fell to 16-11 on the season in the circle, allowing four runs – three earned on only two hits, but with six walks. She did strike out six in her 3.2 innings. Emily Otto (Lamar Consolidated) struck out two and allowed one hit and no runs in 2.1 innings of relief.
SOFTBALL AFTER DARK: A&M-Commerce 6, Texas A&M-Kingsville 5
A nutty late-night game involving a lengthy delay regarding a substitution, a 45-minute dance-off, and a late-inning rally wound up with the Lions on the right side of the ledger as they advanced to Friday action.
The offense started in the second when Slider reached on a fielding error to lead off the frame. Samantha Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) doubled to the right-center gap to plate her, then scored when Kimber Qualls (Humble – Atascocita) launched her second homer of the tournament to dead center for a 3-0 Lion lead.
The Javelinas cut into that lead with Jackie De Los Santos’ two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, then tied the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Kayla Gonzales. The Kingsville squad took the lead in the fifth, as De Los Santos hit an RBI double, and Claire Chernosky brought home a run with a sacrifice fly for a 5-3 Javelina lead.
Dutton and Qualls singled in the sixth, followed by a Moody walk to load the bases with one out. LeBlanc smoked a double to right-center to plate a pair and tie the game, and Hebler launched a sacrifice fly to left field to give the Lions a 6-5 lead and snap the TAMUK scoring streak.
LeBlanc saw one batter over the minimum from there, issuing one walk in the sixth, then throwing a perfect seventh to shut down the stadium for the overnight period with a Lion win.
Qualls was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Avery Boley (Fort Worth – Nolan Catholic), Moody, and Dutton also had a pair of hits. LeBlanc moved to 17-11 on the season with 2.2 innings of scoreless and hitless relief with two walks and three strikeouts. Otto allowed five runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and five walks in 4.1 innings.
Lions’ postseason run ends with a 3-2 loss to Georgia Southwestern in National Quarterfinals.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s golf team saw its fantastic postseason run come to a close in the national quarterfinal round at the NCAA Division II National Championships on Thursday with a 3-2 loss to Georgia Southwestern.
In the unique medal match-play situation, where they compared each player’s 18-hole score to his opponent’s, crucial shots went in the wrong direction for A&M-Commerce.
In the opening match, Brody Blackmon (Sulphur Springs) took the lead on the opening hole and never conceded it, pulling away from GSW’s Chase McLain on the final holes. Blackmon led by two shots with five holes to play, then outscored McLain by four shots in that stretch to win by six shots.
Tripp Wallace (Wolfforth Frenship) trailed for the front nine, then charged back late. He took the lead with six holes to play and extended that lead to four shots in the final run before taking a three-shot win to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.
The fourth match out was the crucial one, as two shots edged Zach Burch (Lubbock – Cooper) in a back-and-forth battle with Southwestern’s Simon Estrada. Burch was ahead with four holes to play before Estrada tied the match up. The pair were even for the next two holes, but Estrada was two strokes better in the final two holes. After Simon Haas (Lorch, Germany) dropped his match, it tied the overall match up at 2-all with the last game on the course.
Nathan McCulloch (Edinburgh, Scotland) was never out of contention despite trailing early. Still, a two-stroke swing early on the back nine in favor of GSW’s Jordan Daskalos pushed the margin too large for McCulloch to overcome. The Scot lost by three strokes as Georgia Southwestern won the match, 3-2.
Despite the loss in the quarterfinals, the Lions finished in fifth place in their second-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships. They had previously finished in ninth place in 1998.