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Courtesy: Brian Tannehill

2018 Softball Championship Tournament: Day Three Recaps

Courtesy: SWAC.org
Release: 05/11/2018
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Prairie View A&M 11, Alabama A&M 2 (F/5)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A five-run explosion in the second inning propelled Prairie View A&M to the next round thanks to an 11-2, five-inning win over Alabama A&M during the 2018 SWAC Softball Tournament.

Prairie View A&M (16-21) advances into the next stage of the bracket, while Alabama A&M's (22-21) season comes to an end. 

Prairie View put together a scoring chance early on as Destinee Williams hit an one-out single and Gabriella Foncesa and Laurisa Hernandez drew walks to load the bags. Kylar Ward-Flowers cashed in with a two-run single to give the Lady Panthers an early advantage.

Amanda Ford followed by belting a single to right center, scoring Hernandez and moving to second before the Lady Bulldogs put a stop to the threat.

Tiana Sanders responded with a rocket of a solo home run to right field to get AAMU on the board.

Prairie View blew the game open in the second, as the Lady Panthers brought one around with a bases-loaded walk and Laurisa Hernandez belted a grand slam on the next at-bat. Kia Lang was able to draw AAMU a tad closer with a solo shot of her own in the bottom of the frame, but the Lady Panthers capitalized on a litany of miscues by the Lady Bulldogs to put up three more runs -- highlighted by an Alexis Freeman RBI single -- as they cruised on to the next round.

Williams and Ford each had a pair of hits. Ashley Higgins picked up the win with a complete-game effort, allowing three hits and two earned runs.

Alabama A&M committed six errors in the game.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff 9, Southern 1 (F/6)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - On the strength of a explosive second inning, Arkansas-Pine Bluff bounced Southern from the 2018 SWAC Softball Tournament, prevailing 9-1.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (18-28) advances to play Prairie View A&M for a spot in the semifinals. Meanwhile, the defeat brings the Jaguars' season to a close.

After the sides traded a scoreless first inning, Arkansas-Pine Bluff pushed its first run across the dish as Karia Hall scored on a fielder's choice. UAPB loaded the bags thanks to an error at second, Ta'Lyn Moody singled to bring another in.

The Lady Lions tacked on another during a fielder's choice that went awry for Southern (17-23), resulting in another error. Kameron Graham followed with a RBI single, and Hall belted a bases-clearing double good for a 7-0 UAPB advantage.

Southern showed a brief sign of life in the top of the sixth, as Sydney Andrews reached on a throwing error from third, ultimately moving to second. Jazmine Dukes slapped a double to bring her home, but Donaldson grounded out to end the inning.

UAPB then slammed the door on the contest, racking up a pair of runs to force the run-rule victory.

Hall threw a complete game, allowing five hits and one unearned run with three strikeouts. She also went 2-for-3. Moody was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

Dukes led Southern with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate.

Alabama State 6, Texas Southern 3

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama State punched its ticket to its fourth-straight SWAC Softball Tournament final, downing Texas Southern 6-3 to advance to the 2018 championship game.

Alabama State (23-29) took advantage of shaky pitching by Texas Southern early on, as Kristin Gunter led off the second inning with a single and moved to second via wild pitch. The Lady Hornets fired the first shot as Makayla Burt singled to right and scored Gunter. After an Aimee Felicies single -- where Burt moved to second via error on the play -- Jordan Amerson picked up a RBI base knock to make it 2-0.

A walk and fielder's choice juiced the bases, and Mariah Youngblood issued back-to-back bases-loaded walks to Casey Durham and Charlene Castro for another pair of Lady Hornet runs. Jasmin Fulmore came on in relief and quickly retired Gunter to end the inning. 

Texas Southern (24-17-1) threatened in the bottom of the third when Zariah Robins singled and Ebony Wiltz drew a free pass. Following a single from Tevanae Tate that loaded the bags, Sierra Valdez brought Texas Southern back into the mix with a two-run single to cut the deficit in half. However, Dominique Tello grounded into a double-play to end the inning and halt the potential rally.

After a clean inning from Fulmore, Texas Southern's Madi Marek and Alyssa Garcia picked up consecutive base hits off of ASU starter Justine Jean, and Wiltz drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. Jean managed to force Jocilynn Ellis to groundout and end the inning.

The Lady Hornets manufactured a chance with back-to-back singles by Gunter and Burt, and Felicies came up big with a RBI single that squirted through the infield and plated Gunter. The Lady Hornets threatened to add more, but Tate gunned down Burt at home to end the inning.

In what became a theme for the defending champions, the Lady Tigers again mounted a chance in the bottom of the fifth, as Tello and Julia Bilbao reached with singles only for Texas Southern to come away empty handed. Alabama State added to its advantage as Casey Durham ripped a double to left center to score Kaylee Davis.

Tate (3-for-4) would homer to start the seventh inning and draw TSU within three, but Jean regrouped and -- capped by Davis throwing out pinch-runner Terren Vinson -- retired the remaining side to clinch the win.

Gunter was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Burt, Felicies and Amerson also had a pair of hits. Jean collected her third win in as many days, scattering 12 hits and three runs over a complete game.

Prairie View A&M 5, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 0

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Crystal Castillo dealt a five-hit shutout, striking out seven as Prairie View A&M advanced in the 2018 SWAC Softball Tournament with a 4-0 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The Lady Panthers (17-21) will face Texas Southern for the final spot in the tournament title game versus Alabama State. The loss ends the Lady Lions' (18-28) season.

Prairie View was able to get on the board first as UAPB's Angelique Ramos issued a bases-loaded walk to Destinee Williams for the first run of the game.

The Lady Panthers struggled to convert on scoring chances early, stranding five runners in the first two innings. Prairie View broke through in the top of the third, loading the bases and pushing two runs across thanks to back-to-back singles by Alexis Freeman and Shelby Williams.

Prairie View padded its lead with a RBI single by Laurisa Hernandez that scored Gabriella Foncesa.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff mounted its best chance in the bottom of the sixth, as Ta'Lyn Moody singled to center and Alexandria Taylor moved her to third with a double. The Lady Lions allowed nothing across though, as Crystal Castillo retired the side. Prairie View added another run for insurance in the top of the seventh, cruising to the win.

Freeman was 3-for-4 with three RBI. Kylar-Ward Flowers, Williams and Kelsey Coronado each collected a pair of hits.