ST. JOSEPH, MO. - Marian University got two runs in the eighth inning and held on to defeat Dickinson State University 5-3 in game four of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Park Bracket Tuesday (May 14) at Heritage Park.
The Blue Hawks (25-16 overall) rallied to tie the game in the sixth and left the bases loaded with a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh but the Knights (32-10 overall) took advantage scoring twice in the eighth to keep their season alive.
Marian moves on to face Park University in another elimination game Tuesday night at 6 p.m. after a game that featured as many hits as errors for both teams.
The Knights struck first scoring one run in the second as Michelle Marcum drew a lead-off walk and later scored on a two-out single from Jennifer Sears.
Marian added two unearned runs to its total in the third for a 3-0 lead as Eleni Prewitt doubled to start and came around on a wild throw. Marcum struck for an RBI single with two outs plating Helen Rogers.
DSU got one run back in the bottom half of the third as Daniel Benito opened the inning with a single into left for the Blue Hawks' second hit of the game. The senior advanced to second on a bobble and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Justeena Gutierrez. Taysia Kaufman provided the RBI on a groundout to the shortstop cutting the deficit to 3-1.
The Blue Hawks continued to pressure the Knights and eventually tied the game 3-3 in the sixth as Kaufman reached with a one-out single. After an error put Monique Yslas on base, Janell LaRont singled to load the bases leading to a sacrifice fly by Alex Vargas.
An RBI single off the bat of Rebecca Lopez knotted the score and DSU had a chance to close out the game in the seventh but stranded three runners with only one out.
Marian used that break to their advantage getting the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth on a squeeze bunt from Allie Foley scoring pinch runner Kristen Tragesser, who replaced Emily Gwaltney after the senior singled to start the inning. Gwaltney finished the game 3-for-3 leading the offense.
The Knights added another run taking a 5-3 lead as Sears hit a two-out single scoring Marcum and starting pitcher Amy Tamer closed out the game in the bottom of the eighth ending the season of Dickinson State.
Tamer pitched a complete game for Marian without allowing an earned run on six hits moving to 16-3 on the year. Kaufman took the loss for DSU throwing the final three innings giving up two earned runs in relief dropping to 10-6 after LaRont went five innings making the start.