May 22, 2010
Decatur, Ala. - Elisabeth Barber hit a solo homer, Jessica Womble and Kara Pollock each drove in a run and Libby Munson worked out of a seventh inning, bases-loaded jam to secure her second consecutive shutout and send the No. 10-ranked Lady Hawks to a 3-0 victory over Ottawa University in each team's second game of Pool G play at the 2010 NAIA Softball National Championship in Decatur, Ala.
Shorter (49-14), which is in the midst of its fourth straight appearance at the championship, is now one win away from advancing out of pool play and into the eight-team, double-elimination national championship tournament for the first time in school history.
The Lady Hawks won their first two games of pool play in Decatur last season only to fall to then-defending national champion and No. 2-ranked Lubbock Christian University in the final game of pool competition.
Standing in Shorter's way this year is No. 7-ranked Point Loma Nazarene (30-14), which outlasted 22nd-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene University 1-0 in eight innings earlier in the day to move to 2-0 in pool play and set up a Monday showdown between Pool G's top-two seeds for a spot in the elimination round.
Shorter improved to 2-0 in pool play, but only after holding its breath through a tense seventh inning that saw Ottawa (27-9) load the bases with no outs.
Munson, who surrendered just four hits on the day to the Lady Braves, gave up three of those hits to the first three Ottawa batters in the seventh frame.
Munson (27-5), however, bounced back to strike out Emily Fuerst for the first out, force Ashley Renaldi to flair out to first for the second out and then end the game with a strikeout of Lindsey Adams. The junior from Suwanee struck out seven, walked none and has now tossed 14 consecutive scoreless innings at this year's national championships.
Offensively, Shorter continued to look like a team on a mission, jumping on Lady Braves' starter Renaldi early.
The Lady Hawks, who left eight runners on base in their win over MidAmerica on Thursday, got an RBI double to left center from junior Kara Pollock that scored Munson in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Munson had reached earlier in the frame with a leadoff double to right center.
With Munson cruising on the rubber for head coach Melanie Carter, Shorter pushed across some insurance in the fifth and sixth innings.
Barber then put the finishing touches on Shorter's second straight solid offensive performance in the sixth inning with her second home run of the season, a towering blast that sailed high over the left field fence and gave Shorter the final 3-0 winning margin.
Shorter totaled six hits against Ottawa's pitching staff as Womble led the way with a 2-for-4, one RBI effort. Barber finished 1-for-1 with a pair of walks, Munson and Pollock went 1-for-3 and Adams went 1-for-4 with a run and stolen base for the Lady Hawks, who have now pounded out a total of 15 hits in their two pool victories.
With Sunday serving as an off day, the Lady Hawks will square off with Point Loma for Pool G's slot in the national tournament at 2 p.m. CDT on Monday, May 24.