OCU moves on to NAIA championship game with two wins on Wednesday

From OCU Sports Info.
Rich Tortorelli, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – No. 1-ranked Oklahoma City University reached the championship game of the NAIA Softball World Series after an 8-1 victory over Southeastern (Fla.) on Wednesday night at the Elizabeth & Irving Jensen Softball Complex.

Oklahoma City ousted second-ranked two-time defending national champion Auburn-Montgomery from the tournament 4-3 on Wednesday afternoon. The Stars (65-3) square off with fifth-ranked Saint Xavier (Ill.) at 5 p.m. Thursday.

OCU needs to beat Saint Xavier twice Thursday. Should OCU win against Saint Xavier, the if-necessary game is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Saint Xavier (46-8-1) hung a 1-0 loss on the Stars on Monday, so Saint Xavier would take the title with one victory Thursday.

Oklahoma City owns eight national championships won in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2007. OCU took national runner-up in 1986, 1993, 1999, 2010 and 2012.

Madison Ellis delivered a three-run home run in the seventh inning to complete a 2-for-4, four-RBI performance Wednesday night. Ellis, a junior from Yukon, Okla., added an RBI double in the fifth and a run scored.

Kyndra Holasek posted a 2-for-3 showing with three runs driven in and a stolen base. Holasek, a senior from Mustang, Okla., socked a two-run single in the third to put OCU on top 3-0 and collect her 400th career hit. Holasek gave the Stars a 4-0 advantage with a run-scoring base hit in the fifth.

Holasek owns the NAIA career hit record with 401. Holasek surpassed Christie Liu Xuqing’s 383 hits to set OCU’s career mark. Jordan Reynolds from Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) would be next with 357 hits from 2009-12.

Kali Pugh, a junior from Vista, Calif., put the Stars ahead 1-0 on a third-inning RBI single. Samantha Stallbaumer, a freshman from Haven, Kan., went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Laci Joyner, a sophomore from Mustang, Okla., was 2-for-4 for OCU.

Georgia Wall scooped up the victory to move to 26-1 on the year. Wall, a freshman from Marlow, Okla., limited 10th-ranked Southeastern (44-15) to one run on four hits and two walks while striking out two. Wall set down 17 Southeastern hitters in a row after allowing Cheyenne Blaha’s lead-off single.

After the win over Auburn-Montgomery, the Stars improved to 3-0 in No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups this season. OCU swept a doubleheader against St. Gregory’s, ranked second at the time, on April 12 in Oklahoma City.

Ellis supplied OCU with a 3-for-3 performance along with a double and a triple while knocking in two runs. Koishor notched the winning RBI on a ground ball in the sixth inning.

In the sixth, Ellis pounded a lead-off triple. Joyner followed by nailing a double to left field to score Ellis. OCU led 3-0.

Ellis drove in the Stars’ first two runs vs. Auburn-Montgomery (53-8) on a base hit to right with the bases full in the first. Pugh and Holasek had singles, then Miller reached on a hit by pitch to load the bases.

Wall held Auburn-Montgomery without a hit until Kayla Hale’s single with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Rose Schmidt doubled to drive in Auburn-Montgomery’s first run with two out, then the Warhawks cut their deficit to 4-3 on an error. Wall retired Katie Brinkman on a fly ball to Stallbaumer in center field.

Wall struck out eight and allowed two hits and two walks in seven innings to gain the victory.

OCU’s 65 victories would place this year’s team behind the 2004 Stars’ 66 wins and OCU’s 69 victories in 1999 on the NAIA’s single-season win list.