SAN ANGELO–The University of Central Oklahoma scored four runs in the fifth inning, then added three insurance runs in the seventh to defeat St. Mary’s University, 7-4, ending the Rattlers season at the NCAA Division II South Central Regional, Thursday afternoon at the ASU Softball Complex.
Malissa Magee (Sr., Katy) and Molly Shivers traded goose-eggs for four innings before UCO broke out on top in the fifth inning. The Bronchos sent 10 batters to the plate that innings, picking up four runs on three hits, two walks and two hit batsmen.
Prior to the sixth inning the Rattlers had just one hit against Shivers. With one out in the sixth Kelcy Walker (Sr., San Antonio) smacked a double down the rightfield line. Heather Monroe (So., New Braunfels) pinch ran for Walker and one out later moved to second on an infield single by Lauren Miller (Fr., Baytown). Nikki Flores (Jr., Friendswood) reached on a single to third base, scoring Monroe and making it a 4-1 game. That brought up pinch hitter Brittany Kettinger (Sr., Azle), who lined a double into the gap in left-center to score both Miller and Flores and pull the Rattlers within one run at 4-3.
But UCO responded with three more runs in the top of the seventh inning, thanks to a pair of errors by the Rattlers. St. Mary’s responded with a single run in the bottom of the inning, but that was all they would get, ending the game at 7-4.
Magee took the loss for the Rattlers. She fell to 36-8 with the loss, the first time this season she has suffered back-to-back losses. She allowed four earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out seven.
With the loss the Rattlers saw their 2008 season come to an end at 53-12. The Rattlers won the Heartland Conference regular season and tournament titles for the first time. They won the Heartland Conference Tournament for the eighth straight season and also advanced to the NCAA Division II South Central Region Tournament for the eighth straight season. The 53 wins is the second most in school history.