Lindsey Wilson softball advances to NAIA National Championship game

Blue Raiders will need to beat Auburn-Montgomery twice on Thursday night to claim the title

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Lindsey Wilson softball team secured a spot in the program’s first-ever NAIA National Championship game after winning twice on Wednesday night to emerge as the consolation bracket winner at the NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College.

The victory moves the Blue Raiders (52-7) into the title game against Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.), who Lindsey Wilson will need to beat twice in order to lift the trophy after the WarHawks won the winner’s bracket.

Facing elimination for the second and third time at the tournament, Lindsey Wilson first took down Oregon Tech 8-1 before holding off Concordia (Ore.) 5-3 to earn a spot in tomorrow’s championship.

The Blue Raiders used a combination of timely hitting, the long ball, and a pair of outstanding complete-game efforts from senior Jordan Hood in the circle.

Against Oregon Tech (47-16), the Blue Raiders got off to their best start in the tournament scoring all eight runs in the first two innings.

Jenna Firestein reached after being hit by a pitch to start the game. After Andrea Whelan singled, the runners advanced on a wild pitch. Following a Bailey Mize walk, another wild pitch allowed Firestein to score the first run of the game. Abbi Goedde then delivered a three-run shot to centerfield on a full count to put the Blue Raiders ahead 4-0.

In the top of the second, the Blue Raiders loaded the bases on a single by Brittney Graves, a walk by Firestein and a single by Chelsea Showers. With two outs in the inning, Amanda Trampe continued her success at the World Series by sending a double to the left-center gap and clearing the bases for the 7-0 lead. Mize then delivered her first hit of the tournament with an RBI single to score Trampe for the 8-0 lead.

The Owls dented the scoreboard in the bottom of the second with a solo home run by Cassidy Hoglund to make it an 8-1 game, but that proved to be the only offensive threat as Hood shut down Oregon Tech the rest of the contest.

The Locust Fork, Ala., senior allowed just two hits the remainder of the game as she cruised to her 17th complete-game effort of the season. Hood struck out three batters and walked five, but stellar defensive play behind her helped keep the Owls from advancing past second base.

Owls starting pitcher Jessi Duncan (16-8) took the loss after surrendering seven earned runs on four hits in 1-1/3 innings.

Game two saw the Blue Raiders take on Concordia (46-19) in the nightcap.

After Lindsey Wilson failed to score a run in the final five innings of the first game and first inning of the second game, the offense started to flow again in the second inning against the Cavaliers.

Travatia Bowden reached after being hit by a pitch and Sydney Fourman sent a 2-1 pitch to straight center that sailed just beyond the wall to put the Blue Raiders up 2-0.

Lindsey Wilson tacked on another run in the top of the third after Showers and Andrea Whelan both reached on singles, and Mize later singled home Showers for the 3-0 lead.

The offense continued to roll in the top of the fourth as Graves and Firestein both singled and Showers walked to load the bases. A fielder’s choice resulted in the second out of the inning as the Cavaliers got the lead runner at home. But then Trampe stepped to the plate and delivered her World Series leading eighth and ninth RBIs on a double to left field to make it 5-0. Whelan nearly made it 10 for Trampe, but she was thrown out at the plate on the play to end the inning.

Concordia finally responded in the bottom half of the fourth inning with a pair of runs to cut the lead down to 5-2.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Mariah Jimenez singled to left field. As Firestein approached the ball and prepared to scoop and come up throwing, the ball skipped underneath her glove and rolled all the way to the fence, allowing both runners to score.

The fifth and sixth innings went by scoreless with hits scattered throughout the frames by both teams, but with no real scoring threats emerging.

As the game went to the bottom of the seventh, Hood, who had tossed 111 pitches in the first game, trotted back out to the circle for her 14th inning, looking for her second complete-game effort of the day.

The Cavaliers made things interesting using a hit by pitch and a single to put runners on first and second. Kelsie Merritt then singled up the middle to score one run and make it a 5-3 game. The next batter hit a ground ball back to Hood, who smartly tossed it to Goedde at third for the fielder’s choice out. Hood then was able to get Kate Santos to pop the ball straight up for Mize to catch near the plate and seal the 5-3 victory for Lindsey Wilson.

Hood (20-2) was once again incredible in the circle, allowing three runs – one earned – on seven hits with four strikeouts.

Concordia’s Mattie Boucher (17-6) took the loss allowing five earned runs on eight hits in her four innings pitched.

The Blue Raiders push their win total to 52 on the season, the most in program history.

By day’s end, Trampe finished with three hits and five RBIs to push her World Series total to nine, three more than the next closest player. Firestein and Showers each scored three runs on the day as the Blue Raiders recorded 10 hits as a team in each win.

Lindsey Wilson will now face second-seeded Auburn-Montgomery in the NAIA World Series National Championship Game with the Blue Raiders needing to win twice to claim the title.

First pitch for the championship contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT on Thursday at the Jensen Softball Complex.

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