Alli Blake and Jordan Akin combined for a five-hit shutout as Central Oklahoma eliminated Southern Illinois, Edwardsville 2-0 Friday afternoon at the NCAA Division II Championship in Salem, Va.
Both teams starting pitchers engaged in a pitcher’s duel through the first four innings, but Central Oklahoma (31-16) broke the scoreless streak in the fifth to take a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Lindsay Mitchell singled, and Stacy Walden followed with a base hit of her own. Lindsay Tripp brought Mitchell home with a base hit to right field.
“I think we had some good hits. I would have liked a few more, though,” UCO head coach Genny Honea said. “We had good hard hits, and out slappers made plays close. There wasn’t an error by either team, so that says a lot for both teams.”
Blake picked up the win as she allowed four hits in five innings to run her record to 18-11 on the season. Akin picked up the save as she allowed a hit over a pair of innings.
“I had to come out tougher because you already have a loss,” Blake said. “I made sure I hit my spots because you can’t make mistakes. I got rid of a few nerves yesterday and felt better out there today.”
Sabra McCune took the loss for the Cougars. Her record fell to 33-9 on the season as she allowed both Bronchos runs on nine hits in the complete-game effort.
“We didn’t get the job done,” SIU-Edwardsville head coach Sandy Montgomery said. “We played well but didn’t get the timely hits. We left a lot of runners in scoring position, and that’s the way it goes sometimes in softball.”
UCO added an insurance run in the top of the sixth against McCune as Emilee Bounds blasted a shot over the right field fence to extend the lead to 2-0.
“Coach told me yesterday to roll my hands over, so I finally did it,” Bounds said of the home run swing. “It felt really good.”
SIU-Edwardsville (52-11) had an opportunity to tie the game as Alicia DeShasier singled and stole second, and Emily Lenart walked. The Cougars executed a double steal, but both had to return to their original bases as McCune was called out for batter’s interference. Jordan Akin worked out of the jam for the Bronchos by getting Kaeleigh Rousey to pop out to first base.
Walden collected three hits on the day, while Tripp reached twice and drove in a run. Alicia DeShasier led the way at the plate for SIU-Edwardsville with a 2-for-3 day.
Central Oklahoma advances to face the loser of Friday’s 5:30 p.m. game against Emporia State and Florida Southern.