May 26, 2004
Decatur, Al.- Number one seed Thomas University defeated 2nd ranked and defending national champion Simon Fraser twice by the same score of 5-4 to win the NAIA national softball championship and the first national title in school history.
Thomas University started their day with a 1-0 win over Oklahoma Baptist to get a rematch with the Clan of Simon Fraser who beat the Lady Night Hawks 4-3 in eight innings on Tuesday.
In the final game of the tournament, Thomas scored the first two runs on one hit and a fielding error.
Freshman Yuruby Alicart (1-for-3) singled to lead off the inning, advancing to second base on a defensive error by Paige Stevens and to third base on a ground out by Stephanie Dixon (1-for-3).
The Clan’s Erin Thomas (1-for-2) then threw a wild pitch which allowed Alicart to score the first run of the game.
Senior Tania Black (0-for-4) scored the second run of the game on a sacrifice bunt from Gilliam Loughead (1-for-3) after reaching on the defensive error.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Night Hawks added an additional run on two hits and an error.
Simon Fraser tied the game in the top of the fourth inning on five hits.
Sophomore Erin Gee (3-for-4) led off the inning with a single to left-center field, advancing on a one-out ground ball from Haylee Rempel (0-for3-).
Gee then scored on a single by Jenny Simpson (1-for-2) to center field.
Rebecca Rijavec and Kim Rossiter (1-for-3) both scored on a double to deep left-center by Thomas.
Thomas University and Simon Fraser both scored one run each in the fifth inning to knot the game once again.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Loughead led off the inning with a single down the left-field line.
Loughead advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Jennifer Byrd (0-for-4) and to third base on a ground out to second base by Stacey Ward (1-for-3).
Loughead then scored the winning run when shortstop Jes Neilson misplayed a ground ball hit by catcher Nicole Criste.
Cathy Andrijaszyn pitched five complete innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out two batters.
Tracy Avery entered the game in the sixth inning pitching two scoreless innings to earn the win.
Erin Thomas suffered the loss for the Clan, pitching 6 2/3-innings allowing three earned runs and striking out three batters.
The team will return to the Thomas University campus on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.
Festivities for the fans will begin at 5:30 p.m including free hot dogs and soft drinks.
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