Lamar leads as rain pauses NISC semi

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lamar sports information

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Lamar Cardinals battled the Kennesaw State Owls and Mother Nature at the National Invitational Softball Championship on Tuesday.

At the end of the day, the Cardinals held a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth of the semifinal contest when play was suspended due to rain. The contest will resume at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

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The start of Tuesday’s NICS semifinal game was delayed by 4 hours, 30 minutes, finally getting underway at 8:34 p.m. Eastern instead of the scheduled starting time of 4:04 p.m. The Cardinals and Owls played for 90 minutes before play was halted at 10:04 p.m. The teams waited around for almost an hour before play was officially halted for the night.

The rain was the only thing that could stop Brynn Baca on Wednesday. LU’s senior catcher was 3-for-3 with two RBIs for the Cardinals. It was Baca’s two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning that snapped a 3-3 tie. Baca also scored twice in the game.

Kennesaw State jumped out to a quick start, scoring twice in the first inning on four hits. The Cardinals cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the first as Baca hit a two-out single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an error.

LU took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with two outs before scoring a pair of runs on wild pitches. The Owls tied it at 3 in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Chandler Griffin. The Cardinals took the lead again in the fourth at 5-3 as Ashley McDowell walked and Brittany Rodriguez doubled

before Baca’s bounced a single over first base to put the Cardinals ahead.

“I liked the way we battled back after being down 2-0 early,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “We had a great attitude and didn’t quit.”

The rains came in the top of the fifth, and seemed to affect LU starter Ciara Luna, who gave up back-to-back doubles to Olivia Tamewitz and Kira Czyrklis as the Owls cut the lead to 5-4 before Luna induced Courtney Sutter to pop up to short to end the inning.

“Ciara settled down after the first inning and pitched well,” Bruder said. “She has been tremendous throughout the tournament,”

The winner of the LU-Kennesaw State game advances to the championship round later Wednesday, needing just one win for the title. The loser faces Liberty immediately after the game in an elimination contest. The winner of the elimination game would have to post two more wins after that for the championship.

“We need to just finish what we started,” Bruder said. “It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get the game in, but Mother Nature had other plans. I feel good about going into the bottom of the fifth inning with the lead.”

All of Wednesday’s action will be on ESPN3.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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