DENVER – No. 5 seed Rogers State softball (55-10) stayed in the winner’s bracket with a 10-2 win over No. 8 seed Cal State Dominguez Hills (42-22) on Friday.
“I’m just so proud of my team,” said head coach Andrea Vaughan. “I was commending them in the locker room after the game on staying focused and I told them I felt like the energy coming from them was like a relentless pursuit. They stayed committed to our plan, trusted what we were doing and stayed aggressive at the plate. It was another outstanding pitching performance from Andrea Morales. Our offense was remarkable to watch.”
The Hillcats jumped on the board early in the second inning as Abbey Rogers unloaded on a leadoff home run that careened off a power pole beyond the left center field wall for an early 1-0 lead. Jaylan Gibson kept the scoring going as she drove in Bridgett Morales with a RBI groundout to short. Kimberli Presnell picked up where she left off yesterday with a RBI single to right that brought in Natalie Gonzalez for a 3-0 lead.
The Toros answered in the bottom of the third with two singles to put runners on first and second with two outs. An RBI single to center broke the shutout to trim the deficit to 3-1. They threatened again in the fourth as they loaded the bases with one out. However, a fielder’s choice that gunned down the runner coming home and a pop up to first held the Toros scoreless in the frame.
RSU’s offense came alive again in the top of the sixth as Elexis Watson broke the single season school record for walks with her second free pass of the day and her 38th of the year to lead off the inning. Presnell drove her in with a RBI single to left. Coming in as a pinch hitter, Callie Yellin broke the game open as she uncorked on a three-run blast that bounced off the roof of a utility building behind the left center field wall to extend the lead to 7-1.
The Toros look poised for another big inning in the bottom of the sixth as they led off with three-straight singles to load the bases. Once again though, RSU worked out of the jam limiting the damage to just one run on a RBI single to trim the lead to 7-2.
The Hillcats kept the bats hot in the top of the seventh as Makayla Bowman led off with a single to short. Jaylan Gibson doubled to left to put runners in scoring position. Presnell cleared the bases with her third and fourth RBI of the day with a triple off the center field wall.
Andrea Morales (36-4) earned the complete game win with three strikeouts and didn’t allow a walk. Alyssa Olague (21-13) took the loss.
With the win, RSU earned the much-coveted day off and will face off against the team that advances out of the loser bracket on Sunday, May 29 at 11 a.m. for a spot in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship Final Series.