Saturday, 04 May 2024 15:38


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BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Reagan Dillon hit a tie-breaking solo home run in the top of the seventh inning as fourth-seeded Southern Arkansas knocked off top-seeded Oklahoma Baptist, 5-4, in Friday’s opening semifinal contest of the 2024 Great American Conference Softball Championships - Presented by Under Armour.

In the first of two GAC semifinals featuring teams ranked in the top 10 of the NCAA Division II Central Region, Dillon’s home run, her 13th of the season, advanced the Muleriders (34-16) to the finals of the GAC Championships for the sixth time in program history. SAU entered the week ranked ninth in the region while the regular-season champion Bison (40-12) checked in as the fifth-ranked team.

Both offenses found early success against acclaimed starting pitchers. SAU pushed across two runs in each of the first two innings off of GAC Pitcher of the Year Kayleigh Jones. Haley Nillen hit a two-run home run in the first inning and the Muleriders scored two runs in the second by virtue of a Jones error. The Bisons’ Kennedy Clark drove home two on a single in their half of the first against GAC Newcomer of the Year Brinson Rogers.

Oklahoma Baptist drew level thanks to an Emily Adler single in the fifth inning and a Shelby Warden sixth-inning double. Warden finished 3-for-3 on the day.

Both Jones and Rogers received no decisions. Sydney Ward picked up the win, her second in as many days, to improve to 16-8. Maggie Place, the GAC Freshman of the Year, suffered the loss.

SAU will play either Southern Nazarene or Harding in Saturday’s noon final. Southern Nazarene entered the week ranked seventh in the Central Region, one spot ahead of Harding.



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