May 20, 2011
Seattle, Wash. - Pitcher Lauren Schmalz held Portland State hitless in a solid relief outing as the No. 21 Auburn softball team defeated the Vikings 2-1 in an elimination game at the NCAA Seattle Regional.
Auburn (40-18) now plays BYU (39-17) at 10 p.m. CT in the second elimination game of the day. The winner will play Washington in the regional championship game tomorrow and will have to beat the Huskies twice.
Entering the game in the fifth inning with the score tied 1-1 and runners at first and third, Schmalz retired five consecutive hitters to hold the Vikings to just one run. Schmalz improved to 15-6 with the win, going two and one-third innings, walking one batter and striking out three.
Angel Bunner started and went four and two-thirds innings, allowing one run (earned) on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Five of the six hits and the one run allowed by Bunner all came with two outs.
Auburn took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Kelsey Cartwright's RBI double. Morgan Estell walked to open the game and moved to second on Lauren Guzman's sacrifice bunt. On a 2-2 pitch, Cartwright delivered a double to the wall in left to plate Estell.
Portland State put its first runner in scoring position on a two-out triple in the bottom of the third inning. After Bunner retired the first two batters of the inning, Jenna Krogh laced a triple over the head of Estell in right field. Bunner, however, wouldn't let the tying run cross the plate as she forced Arielle Wiser to pop up to Guzman at short for the final out of the inning.
After threatening in the third inning, the Vikings pushed the tying run across in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, Lacey Holm doubled to the gap in right-center and was lifted for pinch-runner Meghan Lyons. Crysta Conn followed with a single up the middle to score Lyons and even the game 1-1.
Portland State chased Bunner in the fifth after putting runners on the corners with two outs. After setting down the first two batters of the inning, Bunner gave up singles to Krogh and Wiser. Schmalz was then brought in and ended the scoring threat by forcing Carly McEachran to pop up to short for the third out.
The Tigers regained the lead in the top of the sixth. Kyndall White doubled to open the inning and moved to third on Kelley Smiley's sac bunt. Elizabeth Eisterhold followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center to score White and give Auburn a 2-1 lead.
In the seventh, Schmalz issued a one-out walk to put the tying run aboard but never allowed a runner to reach second base as she worked a fielder's choice ground out and a fly out to right to end the game.