Joanna Reynolds scored the go-ahead run against Azusa Pacific on Friday.
Softball - Fri. May. 18, 2012
GULF SHORES, Ala. ----- The Auburn University at Montgomery softball team scored a pair of runs on wild pitches late in the game and Brandi Richards scattered three hits in her second straight shutout, as it defeated No. 8 Azusa Pacific Friday at the NAIA Softball National Championship at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex.
With the win, the Warhawks (40-18) are now in control of Pool H at the tournament, having defeated both the No. 1 and No. 2 seed in their pool. With an Olivet Nazarene victory over William Penn later today, AUM will secure the pool championship and its spot in bracket play of the tournament, which begins Monday.
Jyssica Pepper paced the offense with two hits and a run scored. Joanna Reynolds added a single and a run scored, while Shea Driggers connected on her seventh double of the season.
Richards took control in the circle, despite pitching into a jam in both the first and second innings. The senior from Covington, Ga., finished the day striking out eight and walking three to improve to 14-7 on the year.
The Warhawks did their damage in the sixth inning, scoring twice to essentially put the game out of reach. Reynolds led off the frame with a single to left and moved around to second when Pepper reached on a perfectly placed bunt. Following a pitching change, Rita Kim uncorked a pair of wild pitches with Laci Driggers at the plate, the first of which allowed by Reynolds and Pepper to advance two bases.
Things certainly were not as easy early in the game for AUM, as Cougar starter Taryn Devich threw just 14 pitches to work through the first three innings. Devich (12-6) threw the opening five innings, allowing four hits and both runs, while striking out one.
The Warhawks put together a rally of their own in the fourth inning, as Pepper and Richards were at the corners with one out. However, Devich followed by forcing Driggers to line out to left field and Haley Johnson to pop up to shortstop to get out of the jam.
In the opening frame, Azusa (41-11) put runners on first and second with one out, following a hit by Heather Koch and a walk to Olivia Wilcox. However, Kacie Ryal snagged a line drive by Erika Marmolejo and doubled off Wilcox to escape the jam.
In the second inning, the Cougars were able to get their first two hitters on, via a walk and hit by pitch. Richards again worked around the rally, striking out two of the next three hitters, while Danielle Kirkpatrick threw out Brandi Andrews on a stolen base attempt.
Koch led the Cougars with two hits.
AUM will conclude pool play on Saturday, when it takes on William Penn (Iowa) at 9 a.m.