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St. Mary's Sets New Home Run Record in Win Over Kennesaw State

St. Mary’s (Texas) hit an NCAA Championship record five home runs en route to an 11-6 win over Kennesaw State in the rain-delayed opening round at the NCAA Division II Championships in Salem, Va. 

The Rattlers (49-9) advance to face unbeaten Northern Kentucky later Friday while the Owls (52-12) dropped their eighth consecutive game at the national tournament and will face LeMoyne in an elimination game on Friday. 

Kennesaw State took advantage of the first of St. Mary’s three errors in the first inning. Jennifer Hunt opened the game with an infield single and later scored on an error by Rattler catcher Liz Beyer. Jennifer Nolan delivered an RBI single later in the inning to give the Owls a 2-0 lead. 

St. Mary’s answered in the second when Jamie Bertsch hit a two run home run to tie the game. Kristin Simmons gave the Rattlers a 3-2 lead with a solo homer in the third. 

In the fourth inning, St. Mary’s looked to break the game open. With two outs, Tiffani Craft hit an RBI single. After Simmons was walked, Beyer crushed a three run home run to give the Rattlers a 7-2 advantage. Roni Garcia followed Beyer’s shot with a solo homer to cap off a five-run fourth. 

Kennesaw State looked to mount a comeback in the fifth when Kelley Cowart led off the inning with a solo home run. Cambria McKay grounded out to score Hunt and Lori Cassell crossed the plate just before Melanie Foster was tagged out going to third on a fielder’s choice by Kate Winstel. 

Simmons led off the Ratter half of the sixth inning with a double to left field and Beyer hit her second home run of the game to give St. Mary’s a 10-5 lead. 

Kennesaw State again looked to mount a rally in the bottom of the sixth. The Owls loaded the bases with one out, but was only able to plate one run on Cassell’s RBI single before Keri McKee lined into a double play to end the inning. 

St. Mary’s plated an insurance run in the top of the seventh on Tiffani Craft’s RBI single. Malissa Magee picked up her 24th win of the season, going five innings. Brittany Brown picked up the save for the Rattlers. Janet Kearns (16-5) took the loss for Kennesaw State.