LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The UMKC softball team (15-41, 2-13 WAC) blasted three home runs in the first inning against Grand Canyon (31-27, 8-6 WAC) but were unable to sustain the offense, falling by a final score of 14-5 and ending their Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament run.
Riding a wave of momentum on the heels of an 11-run eighth inning to advance in the WAC Tournament, GCU struck for a pair of runs in the top of the first off of UMKC starting pitcher Olivia Fluehr (Loves Park, Ill.) for an early lead. The Roos wasted little time in shifting the tide, putting on a ridiculous display of power in the home half of the first.
With one out in UMKC’s first at-bat, Ashlin O'Brien (Fond du Lac, Wis.) recorded the first hit of the contest with a double to center field. Kelsey Goodwin (Broken Arrow, Okla.) followed up the two-bagger with her sixth home run of the season to tie the game at 2-2. Fluehr singled to left to keep the line moving before Maegan Rollow (Broken Arrow, Okla.) smacked her third home run of the season for the team’s fourth consecutive hit in the frame.
Rollow’s big fly chased GCU starting pitcher Mariah Valencia from the circle and forced Alexa Coons into the game. Coons was immediately greeted with a ball stung to left off the bat of Alyx Bloom (Clay Center, Kan.), who spent last year suiting up for the GCU women’s basketball team. The home run was Bloom’s third of the season and put UMKC out front 5-2 after one inning of play.
Fluehr would surrender a single run to the Lopes in second inning before facing the minimum in the third to keep the Roos on top. UMKC missed a great opportunity to build their lead in the bottom of the third, loading up the bases with two outs but unable to come through with a timely hit.
GCU blew the contest open in the fourth, striking for eight runs off of three different UMKC pitchers to claim a decisive 11-5 advantage. The Roos were unable to sustain the early slugging, finding no further scoring the rest of the way as the Lopes added three runs in the fifth to finish the game with a 14-5 final score.
Goodwin and O’Brien both put together incredible performances in the WAC Tournament in the final games of their UMKC careers. Goodwin, who went 4 for 13 with a home run and six RBI’s, finished her four-year tenure among the programs best in multiple statistical categories. Her 12 career home runs ranks sixth all-time while her 81 career RBI’s and .311 career batting average rank seventh. O’Brien, who finished the tournament going 4 for 15 with two doubles and a pair of RBI’s, exits with a .303 career batting average sits ninth in UMKC all-time history.
– UMKC –