Tanner Shoemaker, Sports Information Director
DODGE CITY, Kan. – The top ranked University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (53-1, 36-0 SAC) opened the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round with a 6-3 win over Avila University (Kan.).
The Drovers scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning, when Emily Cerny (SO/Newcastle, OK) scored on a wild pitch. Avila tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, but the Drovers re-claimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run homerun from Destinie Lookout (SR/Oklahoma City, OK). With the score 3-1, the Eagles tied the game with a two-RBI single in the top of the fifth inning. Randa Hatter (JR/Stratford, OK) stepped to the dish with one out in the bottom of the sixth with a runner on first, and the junior blasted a two-run homer to left, once again giving the Drovers the lead. Karmyn Pearn (SO/Newcastle, OK) also scored in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 6-3. Emily Cerny shut the door closed on the Eagles in the seventh to finish out the Drovers 53rd win of the season.
Emily Cerny pitched all seven innings for USAO, allowing three runs off four hits, and she struck out 11 batters. Cerny is now 25-1 with a 0.44 earned run average, and she has struck out 255 batters in 159.2 innings pitched this season.
Destinie Lookout and Randa Hatter powered the USAO offense to victory. Lookout concluded the game 2-for-2 with a two-run dinger and a walk. Hatter finished the win 1-for-3 with the go-ahead two-run shot. Tarah Madron (JR/Konawa, OK) contributed a 2-for-3 performance, which included a double. Emily Cernyhelped her own cause by going 1-for-2 with a run scored and a run batted in. Keely Kingsley (SR/Oklahoma City, OK) and Darci Chester (SO/Collinsville, OK) each recorded singles for the Drovers.
No. 1 USAO will now face the University of Houston-Victoria on Tuesday, May 14 at 11 a.m. in Dodge City, Kan.