Night Hawks > Softball Captures NFCA NAIA Gold Consolation Title

| March 2, 2015

TU Softball 030215

Jason Hendrix, Thomas University Sports Information Director

COLUMBUS – Thomas University’s softball team captured the 2015 Gold Bracket Consolation Championship this afternoon defeating No. 3 Reinhardt University in a 10-1 blowout at the 2015 NFCA NAIA Leadoff Classic held at the South Commons Softball Complex.

The Lady Night Hawks jumped out to a significant lead in the first three innings of the contest to go ahead 6-0. In the top of the first, catcher Michael Cooper got on with a five pitch walk. She would later score when Rachel Hoeft ripped a two-run homer over the left field fence to give TU the 2-0 lead. During the second, Thomas would plate another run on a sacrifice fly by Kelsey Connolly to advance their lead to 3-0.

TU’s starter Ashley Sikes pushed through the first six outs of the game only allowing one hit. The Hunter Green and White’s offensive backed up Sikes’ pitching performance adding three runs to pull ahead to 6-0. Chandler Seay started the offensive surge with a double to the left-center field fence. She would score when Hoeft picked up her second hit of the game lining a single to shallow right for the fourth run of the game. Cooper, who reached on a single over the shortstop’s head before Hoeft’s at bat, scored when first baseman Carmen Nadal outran a chopper to short for an infield single. Up 5-0, the Lady Night Hawks would score their third run of the inning when Lindsey Young walked with the bases loaded.

Reinhardt’s Amanda Rutkowski put the Lady Eagles on the board when she hit a laser over the left field fence. Rutkowski’s fourth inning homerun was RU’s lone run of the contest bringing the score 6-1.

Both teams managed through two scoreless innings before Thomas once again went on the offensive tear in the top of the seventh. The Lady Night Hawks would go on to score four insurance runs in the inning to take the 10-1 lead. Connolly led the inning off with a double while Young would walk on five pitches. Brittany Daniels would load the bases with a single to left. The first run of the inning would touch home when Seay was hit by a pitch. Kaley Clark, who was making her first appearance since the Georgia Southwestern series in early February, stepped in and laced a single up the middle to score Daniels. With the bases once again loaded, Alexa Fair would walk on five pitches scoring the ninth run of the game for the Lady Night Hawks. The scoring rout would come to a close when Nadal’s single through the hole between first and second scored the tenth and final run of the game.

Sikes would go on to close out the game in the seventh. The left-hander only allowed three hits and one earned run in her 7.0 innings of work. Sikes picked up the victory striking out two of the 24 batters she faced while only surrendering three walks. Reinhardt’s Maci Mills was credited with the loss.

Thomas improves to 14-4 on the season while No. 3 Reinhardt drops to 7-7 on the year.

The Lady Night Hawks return to action on Wednesday, March 4 when they host Reinhardt in double-header action at Armory Field. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Wiggins

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