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Live Blog of St. Mary’s-Central Oklahoma Softball

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FINAL SCORE – Central Oklahoma 7, St. Mary’s 4

SAN ANGELO–Live blog by Sports Information Director Derek Smolik of the St. Mary’s University-University of Central Oklahoma NCAA Division II South Central Region softball game Thursday morning from the ASU Softball Complex in San Angelo.

Welcome to my second (ever) blog of St. Mary’s softball. Again, technical problems will prevent us from doing an audio broadcast of the game. Hopefully you’ll enjoy our second option. Today’s game has already run into a problem as the sprinklers were left on overnight and the infield is a little water-logged. However, Angelo State’s field maintenance people have been working all morning and the infield is in decent shape. I doubt that we’re going to see a lot of base stealing however!

Because of the field conditions the game has been delayed until 11:30 a.m. from its original start time of 11 a.m. I’ll keep you updated on events leading up to and during the game today. Thanks for joining me on this blog.

Well, while the Rattlers are off to a tough start, dropping a 2-0 decision in eight innings yesterday, all is not lost. Last year Angelo State, also the #2 seed in the tournament, fell in their first game in extra innings to Northeastern State, but rebounded to win five straight games and advanced to the College World Series. If the Rattlers can get their bats hot, Malissa Magee is one of the top pitchers in the nation and can be counted on to take care of that side of play.

Look for the Rattler seniors to play a big part in today’s game. St. Mary’s has six seniors: Magee, Lindsay Barnes, Kelcy Walker, Sarah Cooper, Mary K Pederson and Brittany Kettinger. Magee we have already talked about, but Barnes, Walker and Cooper are the only three Rattlers hitting .300 or better over the last 10 games. So they are doing all they can to extend their college careers. If the Rattlers are going to advance today, they will need those players to lead the way.

However, Sade Moore, Arlynda Flores, Nikki Flores, Lauren Miller, Kelly Baker and the rest of the Rattler hitters will need to play a part too. St. Mary’s had not been shut out since Feb. 14 when Humboldt State shut them out in the opening round of the NFCA Lead-off Classic in Phoenix. Humboldt was ranked 11th at the time and is still in the top-25.

11:05 a.m. –  St. Mary’s is warming up on the field right now. Malissa Magee, Taryn Munoz and Brittney Kettinger are in the bullpen getting loose. Magee threw 167 pitches yesterday in the complete game, so we’ll see how she is feeling after that performance. She is one of toughest and most durable pitchers in the region, so she can usually pitch well even after a long game like yesterday. We’ll see soon enough – 25 minutes to game time.

11:15 a.m. – 15 minutes to game time. The Rattlers came into this tournament as one of the hottest teams in the region, having won 17 of their last 18 games. Meanwhile UCO has lost its last five, including yesterday’s 2-0 decision to Southeastern Oklahoma State on a no-hitter. So both teams are struggling offensively coming in.

On a positive note, the strong winds blowing through San Angelo yesterday appear to be gone. Sunny day with just a few cloud, temperature in the 70s right now, so a beautiful setting for the second day of regionals.

11:25 a.m. – Starting lineups are in. For UCO:
1st – CF Meagan Campbell
2nd – 2B Alley Roberts
3rd – DP Lindsey McLaughlin
4th – 3B Jodi Craig
5th – SS Kelsey Tiger
6th – C Emilee Bounds
7th – P Molly Shivers
8th – 1B Ashley Geter
9th – LF Hillary Brandt
Flex – RF Megan Bentley

 For St. Mary’s:
1st – SS Sade Moore
2nd – 3B Mary K Pederson
3rd – 1B Lindsay Barnes
4th – DP Kelcy Walker
5th – 2B Arlynda Flores
6th – CF Lauren Miller
7th – LF Nikki Flores
8th – C Kelly Baker
9th – RF Sarah Cooper
P Malissa Magee

 11:32 a.m. – Team introductions. These two teams have met once previously with the Rattlers winning 4-2 in the season opener in San Antonio.

11:35 a.m. – St. Mary’s will be the home team today, as they were yesterday. They won a coin toss last night to determine home and visitor. That means Malissa Magee and the Rattlers will be in the field first. A fast start will be huge for the Rattlers today. Magee is 36-7 with a 1.15 ERA and 329 strikeouts in 273.2 innings this season. Amazing numbers. Opposing her will be Molly Shivers, who is 12-2 with a 2.03 ERA and five complete games. She has thrown just 82.2 innings this season.

11:39 a.m. – Top of the First Inning – Here we go with the first pitch. Ball low to Meagan Campbell. Magee was the winner on the mound against UCO in the season opener. 3-1 pitch ground out to short, Moore makes a strong throw to first for the first out. Ali Blake now at the plate. Hope that Moore gets back on track after a tough day yesterday. 1-2 pitch on the inside corner for strike three. First strikeout of the day for Magee. McLaughlin at the plate. Singles to center on a 1-1 pitch. Craig now up. 1-2 pitch swung on and missed for the second strikeout and retires UCO here in the first.

11:46 a.m. – Bottom of the First Inning – Sade Moore leads off for the Rattlers. Moore lines one to third base where Craig makes a good running catch. Mary K at the dish now. Long at bat for Mary K. She has fouled off two pitches since the count went 3-2. Pops the ball into short right and Bentley catches it for the second out. Lindsay Barnes comes to the plate. She walks on five pitches. Kelcy Walker now up. High and tight pitch hits her on an 0-2 count. So runners at first and second with two outs. Conference on the mound as UCO coach Genny Stidham comes out. Barnes and Walker have been the Rattlers most consistent hitters over the last couple of weeks, no surprise they got on. Now we’re ready to restart. Arlynda Flores at bat.

11:55 a.m. – Top of the Second Inning – Tiger leads off for the Bronchos (pronounced Bronchos). Malissa still looking good despite her 167 pitches yesterday. 0-2 pitch swung on and missed, three strikeouts for Magee. Bounds up next. Finishing my thought Magee has thrown 25 pitches, 18 for strikes so far. Definetely a good start. 1-2 pitch on the inside corner for the fourth strikeout of the game. Shivers coming up with two outs. Lot of called strikes, Malissa really having her way so far with UCO. 1-2 ground to third where Mary K throws across for the third out.

12 noon – Bottom of the Second Inning – Lauren Miller to lead off. She was on the bench yesterday, let’s see what the freshman from Baytown can do for us today. Magee has been throwing strikes consistently, but after Miller fouls off the 2-1 pitch, Shivers has thrown 24 pitches, just 12 for strikes. Catcher Bounds shaken up on the play, but all right. Miller strikes out on a 3-2 pitch. Nikki Flores is next. Line drive into right-center for a base hit! Flores legs out a double with one out. Kelly Baker now up, looking to give the Rattlers the lead. Baker strikes out swinging for the second out of the inning. Sarah Cooper, one of the hottest Rattlers of late, up next. Rattlers need some two-out magic now. Cooper showing good patience, count 2-1. Little looper over the pitcher, fielded by the shortstop and fired on to first for the final out. Still no score after two complete.

12:12 p.m. – Top of the Third Inning – Geter to lead off. Magee continuing to dominate, strikes out Geter for fifth punch out of the game. Brings up Brandt. First pitch hit hard to second, Flores can’t handle it and Brandt reaches on the error. Tough call, I might have given that a hit. Next up is Campbell who hits the second pitch to Magee. She throws to first for the second out. On the 0-1 to Roberts a cue ball of the bat. Magee and Barnes chase it, Magee throws to first but late for the infield single. Runners first and third with two outs for McLaughlin. For the first time in the game Magee struggles to keep the ball in the zone, walking McLaughlin on four pitches. Now up is Craig. Magee really bears down on Craig, gets ahead quickly 0-2 and strikes out Craig for her sixth K of the game, ending the threat.

12:22 p.m. – Bottom of the Third Inning – Moore to lead off for the Rattlers. First pitch ground out to short, Tiger throws across for the first out. Brings up Mary K Pederson. Third pitch popped off the end of the bat to the second baseman, two outs. Lindsay Barnes coming to the dish. Barnes making Shivers work, already seven pitches. But the 2-2 grounded out to short and Tiger again throws across to retire the side. First 1-2-3 inning of the game.

12:26 p.m. – Top of the Fourth Inning – Tiger to lead off. First pitch grounded into the dirt right in front of the plate. Great play by Baker firing to first just ahead of the runner. Great scoop at first by Barnes as well. Bounds up next. Grounds out to Mary K for the second out. Next up is Shivers. Magee falls behind 3-0, but rebounds and gets Shivers to foul out to Moore in front of the Rattler dugout. 1-2-3 inning for the second time in the game.

12:31 p.m. – Bottom of the Fourth Inning – Walker to lead off for the Rattlers. 0-1 pitch drilled to right, but right at Bentley for the first out. Good sign though, hard hit. Arlynda Flores up next. 0-1 drilled homerun distance, but foul down the leftfield line. Fighting back from an 0-2 count, now 2-2. Another foul ball drillled to left. Maybe the Rattlers are starting to get a good feel for Shivers. Lots of Rattler parents here today, but the most enthusiastic fan is volleyball coach Todd Caughlin, serving as the St. Mary’s administrator! 3-2 pitch down low for ball four. Miller up next for the Rattlers with one out. We’ll see if Flores tries to steal second. She has good speed.  Hit and run with a 1-2 count, long fly for Miller, but the park will hold it for the second out. Nikki Flores up next. She has the only hit of the game for the Rattlers.

12:38 p.m. – Top of the Fifth Inning – Geter will lead off for the Bronchos. Settling in for another long one perhaps. 2-0 pitch up high hits Geter. Brandt up looking to sacrifice. On the 1-2 pitch Geter steals second. 3-2 pitch up high for ball four. Second walk of the game for Magee. Brings up Campbell, who I’m sure will also want to bunt. Tough spot now. On the first pitch Campbell singles down the leftfield line, two runs score to give UCO a 2-0 lead. McGaughlin now up with a runner at second as Campbell takes second on the throw home. McGaughlin grounds out to third base. Roberts has to stay at second. Craig now up. Craig lines a single down the leftfield line, almost identical to Campbell’s hit. Roberts comes around from second to make it 3-0 and Campbell moves to second on the throw home. Tiger now up. Third hit of the inning, this one to right, gives UCO a 4-0 lead. Again the throw allows Tiger to move into scoring position at second. Bounds up. 2-2 pitch hits Bounds to put runners on first and second with two outs. Shivers is the ninth batter of the inning for UCO. Shivers draw a walk on a 3-2 pitch, the second walk of the inning. Magee bounces back to get Geter to pop out to the catcher to finally end the inning. However, the bats need to get hot in a hurry, we trail 4-0 now.

12:56 p.m. – Bottom of the Fifth Inning – Baker to lead off the Rattlers. We need a good start to get on the scoreboard. 1-1 pitch popped up on the infield, gloved by the first baseman for the first out. Cooper now at the plate. Cooper pops it up to left where Brandt grabs it for the second out. Moore looking to start a two-out rally. Slow grounder to short, thrown low by Tiger for an error. Mary K Pederson looks to keep the rally going. First three pitches to Pederson out of the zone, prompting a visit from coach Genny Stidham of UCO. 3-1 popped out to second, ending the inning.

1:04 p.m. – Top of the Sixth Inning – Brandt to lead off. Magee still on the mound for the Rattlers. 1-2 pitch grounded to third, Mary K makes the play for the first out. Campbell now up for the Bronchos. Rocket smacked down the rightfield line, but Barnes makes a spectacular leaping catch for the second out. Roberts up next. Malissa Magee up over 100 pitches at 108 now. Has to be taking its toll with nearly 300 in two days, not including throws in the bullpen. Called strike three for the seventh strikeout of the game for Magee. 1-2-3 inning for Magee. Now the Rattler bats have to get going.

1:10 p.m. – Bottom of the Sixth Inning – Barnes to lead off for the Rattlers. Just six outs left for the Rattlers to score four or five runs. Need a good start. Barnes fell behind 1-2, battling back, the count now 3-2. Smacks the ball down the rightfield line, gloved by Bentley for the first out. Kelcy Walker up next. 1-1 smacked down the rightfield line for a double. Third hit of the game for the Rattlers. Arlynda Flores now coming to the plate, looking to get the Rattlers on the board. Heather Monroe will pinch run for Walker at second. 0-2 pitch popped up but three Bronchos converge and fail to make the catch. Lucky break. Let’s see if she can take advantage. 1-2 popped up on the infield for the second out. Lauren Miller to bat. Miller grounds the 1-2 pitch to short, throw from Tiger is late. Infield single and the Rattlers have life with runners at first and third with two outs and Nikki Flores coming up. Flores smakced the ball hard down the leftfield line, scoring Monroe and cutting the deficit to 4-1. Brittany Kettinger will pinch hit for Baker. Now new pitcher for UCO, Ali Blake. Oh my!! Line drive to left-center, all the way to the wall for a two-run double!!! St. Mary’s trails by one 4-3. Just her eighth at-bat of the season, coming up huge. Lia Provence will pinch run for Kettinger. Cooper grounds out, but it’s a one-run game, 4-3.

Top of the Seventh Inning – McLaughlin to lead off. 2-1 pitch popped out to left, Flores gloves it for the first out. Lia Provence into the game in right, Walker takes over at catcher for Baker. Craig now up. 1-1 pitch hits Craig. Third hit batsman today. TIger now up. Ground bal up the middle for the sixth hit of the game for UCO. Bounds up next.  Ground ball to short, Moore makes the play for the second out. Shivers lays down a bunt, Mary K makes the throw, but Flores drops it at first, scoring a run. Another bunt by Geter, the trhow from Magee is late and wide, allowing two runs to score. Brandt flies out to end the inning, but now its 7-3.

Bottom of the Seventh Inning – Sade Moore picks a good time for her first hit of the tournament, laying down a perfect bunt for a single. Mary K Pederson up next. Classic Mary K at-bat, count 3-2 and seven pitches in. Mary K grounds out to short for the first out. Barnes up next, grounds out also to short. After the first pitch the throw back to the pitcher goes into centerfield for a run. 2-2 pitch grounded to second, throw is in time and that’s it.

Tough pair of days for the Rattlers. First time they have ever gone 0-2 at a regional tournament. End of six great careers for the Rattlers:
Kelcy Walker
Malissa Magee
Sarah Cooper
Brittany Kettinger
Mary K Pederson
Lindsay Barnes

Thanks for four great years ladies. Good luck in the future.

Well that’s going to do it. Great year, tough finish. Thanks for keeping up with the Rattlers these last two days and all season. Take care and we’ll see you next season.