OKLAHOMA CITY – Senior Michelle Duncan tossed a two-hit shutout with seven strikeouts leading No. 4 Dixie State to a 1-0 victory over No. 21 California (Pa.) in game three of the 2015 NCAA Division II Championship, Thursday evening at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Against the first six batters of the game, Duncan surrendered a pair of singles and walked one. Following the second single, the righty went on to retire 14 straight and 18 of the last 19 batters she faced to remain undefeated at 30-0. The only runner to reach during the final stretch was on a dropped fly ball in the sixth.
Schutt Sports NFCA Freshman of the Year Janessa Bassett provided the Red Storm’s (50-7) only offense roping a two-out RBI triple over the drawn in outfield to score pinch runner Kristie Johnson all the way from first with what would be the game-winning run in the fifth.
Vulcans’ (41-12) ace, junior and Alex Sagl was the tough-luck loser in the circle. The NFCA Third-Team All-American scattered six hits, five of which were singles, struck out four and walked one as she fell to 27-5 on the season.
The big hit by Bassett came after Dixie State threatened in the first and third innings but could not push across a run. In the first on an attempted squeeze, Vulcan third baseman made a quick scoop and throw to nail the runner at home by a hair.
The third featured the highlight of the game as California (Pa.) turned a rare triple play, the first in program history. With runners on first and second, Nicole Chavez hit a shallow fly ball to right that was easily caught by Kaity Finley. Both runners took off on the crack of the bat, which allowed Finley to fire to first for the second out and Lindsay Reicoff to toss it over to second for an easy third out and the triple play for the Vulcans.
Six different players recorded a hit for Dixie State, while Emily Price and Hailey Wilson generated the only hits for the Vulcans.
Dixie State will move on to the winner’s bracket tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. CT and face the winner of the game four between Adelphi and Central Missouri. California (Pa.) heads to the elimination bracket on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
-- Photo courtesy of Richard T. Clifton