Renee Rubio’s two-run home run in the third inning proved to be the deciding runs as Cal State Bakersfield eliminated Georgia College & State 3-1 Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Division II Softball Championship in Salem, Va. 

Roadrunner starter Christie Hill was marred in a pitcher’s duel along with Bobcats’ starter Libby Kidd. Rubio broke open the contest as she delivered a two-run shot over the left field fence that put CSUB on top 2-0. 

“We were fairly evenly matched with this team,” CSUB head coach Kathy Welter said. “It was a matter of which team was going to play better. We stayed focus. Last night was disappointing, so it was important to get back on the winning track.” 

Rubio, who went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, blasted the shot after Kianna Urbanski led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on a pair of putouts. 

“It was higher than the belt,” Rubio said. “She (Kidd) had a decent rise, and she was unexpectedly fast. My at-bat was to get on top of her pitches. I was trying to stay on top of her rise. That was my focus.” 

GCSU left seven on base as at least one runner reached in each of the first five frames. Hill, however, settled in down the stretch to retire the last seven hitters she faced to pick up the win and run her record to 26-8 on the year. 

In the winning effort, Hill allowed a run on five hits with 10 strikeouts over the full seven innings. Libby Kidd suffered the loss as she allowed three runs on six hits over four and a third innings to fall to 21-9 overall. 

“I had to adjust to the strike zone a couple of times during the game. I had a couple of walks and was frustrated with those,” Hill said. “I don’t think I threw as well as Thursday, but my rise ball was working really well.” 

The Bobcats cut into the lead following Rubio’s home run as Casey Allen delivered her first home run of the season, a solo shot out right center with one away. 

“We played really well. We put the bat on the ball fairly well. We couldn’t get anything to go through. We hit the ball right at people and ran out of steam at the end. At the end we weren’t trying very hard or being very selective.” 

The Roadrunners added a run an insurance run in the fifth to make the final 3-1 margin. Urbanski walked and advanced on a single from Hill. Following a sacrifice from Allison Amezcua, Urbanski scored on a passed ball. 

Bakersfield advanced to face Emporia State in Saturday’s nightcap for the right to play for a spot in Monday’s national title game. 

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