SOUTHERN NAZARENE DEFEATS SAU TO CLAIM #theGAC SOFTBALL TITLE

Sunday, 05 May 2024 13:54

SOUTHERN NAZARENE DEFEATS SAU TO CLAIM #theGAC SOFTBALL TITLE

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SOUTHERN NAZARENE DEFEATS SAU TO CLAIM #theGAC SOFTBALL TITLE #theGAC

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Southern Nazarene continued its season-long success against Southern Arkansas as the Crimson Storm defeated the Muleriders, 5-1, to win the title at the 2024 Great American Conference Softball Championships - Presented by Under Armour, the first in program history. The Crimson Storm improved to 4-0 on the season against the Muleriders. They outscored SAU 18-3 in the four games.

The Crimson Storm (38-15) opened the scoring three batters into the game. Liana Heshiki, the hero from their semifinal win against Harding, smoked a line drive off the center-field wall to score Kenedi Morelock.

The Crimson Storm advantage remained 1-0 until they scored two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth,  Heshiki led off with a double. After a Kristen Mullendore single, Sydney Sundbye produced a run-scoring ground out. McKayla Franks singled home Mullendore. One inning later, Emma Green singled and advanced to second on a throwing error. She stole third and scored on the same play. Morelock singled and came around on a Mulerider (34-17) error.

One day after throwing a three-hit complete-game victory against Harding, Janie Worthington held the Mulerider offense hitless through the first four innings. After allowing a solo home run to Gracie King, she finished her second-straight complete-game victory to improve to a GAC-leading 23-3. She struck out 13 across the two wins and claimed a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

Heshiki garnered Tournament MVP honors. She hit .600 with three extra-base hits. Green, Mullendore and Morelock represented the Crimson Storm on the All-Tournament Team. Morelock collected five hits in six at bats; Mullendore went 5-for-7 and Green hit .500.

SAU’s Reagan Dillon, Ariana Rolle and Sydney Ward earned spots on the All-Tournament Team. Dillon hit the game-winning home run against top-seeded Oklahoma Baptist on Friday; Rolle went 4-for-10 in the three games and Ward picked up two wins in the circle.

Harding’s Emma Curry and Riley Price, Arkansas Tech’s Kacie Gibbins and Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Emily Simmons rounded out the 12-member All-Tournament.

Southern Nazarene secured the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Central Region Championships. The Crimson Storm will make the program’s first-ever appearance in the field. SAU, Oklahoma Baptist and Harding entered the week ranked inside the top 10 and eye at-large bids. The selection show streams online at NCAA.com at 9 a.m. on Monday.

 

WWW.GREATAMERICANCONFERENCE.COM

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