The Lady Flames will have very little time to rest. They will return to Butler Field today at 2 p.m. to face Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) in day two of the three-day event. Olivet advanced with an impressive 7-2 victory over Indiana University Southeast. Bethel and IU-Southeast will tangle in a loser’s bracket game at 4:30.
“We played with a lot of nervous energy tonight,” said coach Emily Russell after the Lady Flames improved to 45-9. “I think we were trying a little too hard. I believe our offense will relax and we will see better approaches at the plate on Tuesday.”
Lee jumped on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Anna Coscorrosa singled to shallow right-center to drive Amanda Lynn across the plate. The Lady Flames missed another scoring opportunity in the inning when Hannah was tagged out at third after Lynn had reached on a bunt single.
The Pilots tied the game in the fourth inning when Danielle Reilly walked, stole second and scored on a single by Brookelyn Smith. That would be the only tally that MacAusland would allow the rest of the evening.
Lee took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Savannah Bell collected a single and Laurel Allen used her speed to reach first on a bunt. Hannah came up with the hit of the night with a double to right-center that scored Bell and Allen.
Bell was the only Lady Flame with more than one hit. She had a pair of singles, while Hannah, Lynn, Coscorrosa and Allen had the other hits. Bethel was guilty of a couple of errors while the Lady Flames played errorless ball.
Katie Claxon had two of the Pilots’ hits. Natalie Newell was solid in the circle for Bethel. She struck out seven and walked three.
Russell said MacAusland put herself in a couple of jams. “She was finally able to settle in and take care of business,” noted the Lee coach. “I really haven’t decided who will pitch against Olivet on Tuesday. Olivet is a team that stands close to the plate and their players are willing to be hit by a pitch. We will have to work with a tight strike zone.”
Hannah Gardner drilled a grand-slam homer in the fifth inning to spark Olivet (47-7) past Indiana University-Southeast (36-8). Gardner finished the contest with a home run, double and a single. She drove in six runs.
Lindsay Stotler improved to 15-1 on the year and allowed IU-Southeast only two hits in four innings. Caitlin Santefort hurled the final three innings. Ashley Benson had two hits for the losers and Jade Detzer collected an RBI with a single.