Needing a win to stay alive in the NAIA Softball Championships, Kaylana Mah knocked a three-run home run in the 1st inning to put Simpson on top 3-0, and Bailey Akins delivered the knock out punch with two outs in the 5th as Simpson rolled over Kansas Wesleyan 10-2 in the second day of the Opening Round action in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The game was called with two outs in the 5th on the 8-run rule, keeping the Red Hawks alive for another game. The win not only kept SU in Oklahoma, but it keeps them on the field where the Red Hawks will turn right around and play another elimination game today at 3:00 PDT. SU will get a rematch with Bellevue (Neb.), the team that beat the Red Hawks 2-1 on Monday.
SU must win to advance to the championship game Wednesday, May 17, against host Oklahoma City at 10:00 a.m. PDT.
For all the Oklahoma City Bracket information, click here.
SU, now 44-9 on the season, jumped out to an early lead against the Coyotes. Amanda Laughlin drew a one-out walk, and one out later Kayla Bailey singled to left. Up stepped Mah, who lofted a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence to put three runs on the scoreboard.
The Red Hawks added another run in the 2nd when Missy Silveira walked with one out, stole second, and came around to score on Laughlin's double to deep right center. SU tacked on two more in its next at bat on Akins's two-run homer to center made it 6-0.
KWU took advantage of some SU miscues to get back into the game in the 5th. Hailee Nichols, who had just come on for Paris Hallums, issued a lead off single to pinch hitter Autumn Gillespie. Back-to-back errors loaded the bases for Ashlee Gutierrez, who singled to center to score the Coyotes' second run of the game, but a KWU runner was thrown out at third by Silveira for the first out. Nichols got the next two batters to ground out to silence the threat.
SU got that run back and more in the bottom of the 5th. Courtney Thomas led off with a single and came home on Silveira's triple. Silveira crossed the plate when the next batter, Madison Wright, lined a single to center to make it an 8-2 game. Two outs later, Mah made it a seven-run advantage with a single that plated Mia Olvera, who had reached on a fielder's choice, and Akins finished the game wide open with a two-run double to right that put the Red Hawks over the eight-run limit.
Hallums, voted four times by conference coaches as the Cal Pac's top pitcher, worked the first four innings in the circle, surrendering just one run on a solo shot by KWU's Jordan Girard to lead off the 4th inning. Hallums scattered three hits while walking one and striking out four.
Bailey paced the 12-hit SU attack with three hits in four trips to the dish. Mah, a four-time All-Cal Pac shortstop, went 2-for-3 at the plate, scoring three times and driving in four runs. Akins also finished with two hits, as well as four RBI, and Silveira was 2-for-2 in the game.