|Corban University (42-11)||2||0||3||3||0||8||8||0|
|Madonna University (31-15)||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||2|
|Columbia, Ky. Sparks Park|
|Corban University||Pitching||Madonna University|
|Corban University||Indv. Stats||Madonna University|
|#6 RODRIGUEZ, Iris||Doubles||None|
|#27 ISHAM, Jessie||Home Runs||None|
COLUMBIA, Ky. – A day after the Madonna University softball team played flawless defense that played a major role in a win, the Crusaders defense was not quite as sharp in an 8-0 loss to No. 14 Corban University at Marilyn D. Sparks Park on Tuesday.
The loss drops the fourth-seeded Crusaders (31-15) into the consolation bracket of the NAIA Opening Round Columbia Bracket where they will face the winner of top seeded Lindsey Wilson College and third seed Taylor University at 6 p.m. on Tuesday night.
The second-seeded Warriors (42-11) move to the opening round championship game on Wednesday at 1 p.m. and will have to be beat twice.
It was an ominous start for the Blue and Gold as Taylor Eilders led off the game with a sharp line drive to third, but Madonna was unable to handle the hard hit ball and two singles and a pair of stolen bases put the visitors up 2-0.
"That first inning could have gone differently," said Madonna Head Coach Jerry Abraham. "You start the game with a play we normally make and then we started to press and put pressure on ourselves. We started to play tight and [Corban] played loose and had fun, that was the difference in the game."
Madonna continued to struggle on offense as well as the Crusaders managed just three base runners on three hits, two coming from the bench in the fifth. Mikey Kish (SR/Allen Park, Mich.) broke up Aliie Mendez's perfect game in the fourth with a one-out single just over the glove of the Corban shortstop, but didn't reach second base.
The Crusaders' best scoring chance came in the fifth as Mallory Daschke (JR/Novi, Mich.) led off with a pinch hit single, but a double play erased her and a groundout followed Haley Izworski (SO/West Branch, Mich.)'s ringing single that hit off the left centerfield fence, to end the game.
A walk, two-run home run, double and an RBI base hit put Corban up 5-0 after three. An RBI walk, fielder's choice and an error brought home three more runs in the fourth in the loss.
The Madonna bench was 2-for-3 in the game with Kish the only starter to record a hit against Mendez who improved to 15-4 and struck out three Crusaders.
"It's always good to get all our players in the game and we are going to be depending on them next season," added Abraham on his bench's play. "I wanted to get them a taste anyway and this was a good time to do that."
Erin Combs (SR/Imlay City, Mich.) took the loss as she allowed five runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts in three innings. Madisen Henry (FR/Swartz Creek, Mich.) allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits with a walk in her lone inning of work before Paige Montague (JR/Clio, Mich.) tossed a perfect fifth with a strikeout.
"We are competitors; we have to erase this game and go to work. We told the team they just need to relax and have fun," said Abraham about the team's mindset heading into tonight's elimination game.
Madonna's second opponent on day two of the opening round will be the winner of Lindsey Wilson and Taylor contest that is going on now. The Crusaders' elimination game will begin at 6 p.m. EST.
Live audio coverage of the Madonna game will be available free of charge via the Madonna Athletics Network while live video of the tournament is available via the Lindsey Wilson Sports Network for $7.95 per contest or $19.95 for the entire tournament. Audio and video coverage is available at madonnacrusaders.com/live.
Live stats of all games will be done via Dakstats with links available here.
For those planning to attend the games at Marilyn D. Sparks Park, admission is $5 per day and free for children under six years of age.
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Softball National Championships, click here.
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