UHV softball rolls over LSU-A, qualifies for NAIA tournament
It's not how you start but how you finish.
That has been the motto for the UHV softball team, and the Jaguars are finishing their season the right way.
UHV (28-20) defeated LSU-Alexandria (18-25) 12-0 on a windy Thursday afternoon to earn one of the two automatic bids to the opening round of the NAIA national tournament May 13.
The Jaguars will play for the Association of Independent Institutions championship Friday at 12:30 p.m. against the winner of LSU-Alexandria and British Columbia at 10 a.m. Friday.
"This is what we've been working for all year, and even though we got a rough start, this is a very big deal for us," Brittany Arredondo said. "We've said it from the beginning - it's not how you start but how you finish."
The Jaguars were 13-17 at the end of March. Since then, they have gone 15-3, including a 10-game win streak to start the month. UHV has also won its last four games, three of which have been shutouts.
"We're peaking at the right time," said Jaguars coach Keri Lambeth. "It matters so much for a team to peak at the right time, and right now, we're seeing the ball extremely well. We've been hitting the ball well all season, but this is the most important time."
Against LSU-Alexandria, the Jaguars were able to hit the ball at will. All but one batter got a hit, and six had at least one RBI. In the first inning alone, UHV recorded two runs on four hits and two walks.
"We wanted to score early and often, and we did that," said junior Marley Moehrig.
The Jaguars never let up, despite a strong wind blowing to right field, and continued their dominance in the second inning with four runs scored. Jena West and Casey Sax each drove in a run in the second inning, and Ashley Winegeart gave UHV a 6-0 lead with a two-run triple to center field.
Winegeart, who had a pair of RBI against British Columbia on Wednesday, finished a perfect 3 for 3 with four RBIs Thursday. West was 2 for 2 at the plate with a walk and three RBIs against LSU-Alexandria.
UHV continued to pour on the runs in the bottom of the third as the first six batters of the inning all crossed home plate to take a 12-0 lead. West drove in two of her runs with a single up the middle, and Winegeart added her fourth RBI with a single to left field. Alex Holland, the lone Jaguar to finish without a hit, recorded an RBI with a bases loaded ground out.
The familiarity UHV had with the Generals played a big role in the five-inning victory.
"This is the fifth time we've faced them, so we knew what to expect from their pitchers and their tendencies," Arredondo, who scored two runs, said. "We definitely worked off of that in pregame today. We were prepared."
While the Jaguars celebrated their second-straight bid to the NAIA national tournament, they still have one goal left to accomplish.
"Our mission isn't just to get the berth, but our mission is to be the champion of our conference," Arredondo said. "We're not just looking to be in the championship game but come out as champions."
British Columbia 11, Ashford 0
Ashford became the first team to exit the AII tournament with an 11-0 loss to British Columbia on Thursday morning.
The Thunderbirds scored their 11 runs on 12 hits and took advantage of three errors by Ashford.
Cassandra Dypchey went 3 for 5 at the plate with three RBI to lead British Columbia to victory. Leigh Della Siega got the win after allowing only four hits and striking out 12 batters.
British Columbia 4, Cal State San Marcos 3
No. 1 seed Cal State San Marcos was knocked out of the AII championship tournament following a one-run loss to No. 3 seed British Columbia.
The Thunderbirds will face No. 5 LSU-Alexandria at 10 a.m. Friday in an elimination game. The winner will face UHV in the finals.
Cal State San Marcos took an early 2-1 lead after one inning, but British Columbia tied the game at 3-3 in the third.
The Thunderbirds scored the game-winning run in the fifth.
Alana Westerhof led British Columbia at the plate, going 2 for 3 with three RBI.