LAS CRUCES, N.M. – After dropping its first game of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament to No. 5 seed CSU Bakersfield (12-32), the No. 4 seeded UMKC softball team (16-37) held on for a 12-8 victory over No. 2 seed Utah Valley (16-24) to keep its tournament run alive.
In the first game of the WAC Tournament, CSU Bakersfield jumped on the board early to carry a 3-0 lead over UMKC going into the bottom of the second. Abbi Johnson (Midwest City, Okla.) launched her third home run of the season just inside the left field foul post to put the Roos on the board. UMKC loaded the bases with the next three at-bats, bringing Morgan Byrn (Lawrence, Kan.) to the plate. A single through the left side brought Alex Gale (Steeleville, Ill.) home to cut into the Roadrunners' lead.
After two scoreless innings by CSU Bakersfield, UMKC took advantage of a big fourth to gain the 7-3 lead. With bases loaded, Byrn bombed her 12th long ball of the season over the left field wall. The sophomore is tied for the second-most home runs in a single season at UMKC.
The Roadrunners responded in the fifth by adding a run of their own, but three more by the Roos in the bottom of the inning gave UMKC the 10-5 cushion. CSU Bakersfield continued its comeback in the final two innings, holding UMKC scoreless, while tacking on seven runs, to take the game, 11-10.
UMKC battled Utah Valley in the first elimination game of the double-elimination tournament to close out the first day. The Roos tacked on four runs with just one hit, an error and five walks to start the game. In the bottom half of the inning, the Wolverines put two runners on base, but the UMKC defense left them both stranded.
Utah Valley added its first run on the board in the bottom of the second, but a six-run third inning by UMKC spoiled the Wolverines' momentum. Three consecutive singles loaded the bases for the Roos with just one out. Two doubles by second-team All-WAC selections Kelsey Goodwin (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Maegan Rollow (Broken Arrow, Okla.) helped start the offensive push by the Roos.
UMKC carried the 10-1 lead into the fourth, where the Wolverines scored four runs on three hits to put pressure on the Roos. Rollow hit her second double of the game down the left field line to score Goodwin and give UMKC a six-run advantage.
The Wolverines continued to threaten by adding two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth, but a clutch two-out RBI single by Lia Lombardini (Chesterton, Ind.) in the top of the seventh helped UMKC hold on for the 12-8 victory.
A rematch between the Roos and the Roadrunners is set for a 5 p.m. CT first pitch from NM State Softball Complex on Friday.
– UMKC –