GULF SHORES, Ala. - The NAIA No. 2 Trevecca Trojan (48-4) softball team lost 8-0 to No. 18 Oregon Tech (38-12) in their third and final pool play game at the 2011 NAIA National Softball Championships. The loss eliminates Trevecca from championship play and ends its nation-long winning streak at 20 games.
The 31st Annual NAIA Softball Championship are being played at the Gulf Shores SportsPlex.
The game between Oregon Tech and Trevecca was billed as a pitchers' duel between two of the NAIA's top pitchers. The Owls Jackie Imhof (22-5) pitched a perfect game in her last outing on Friday while Trevecca's Lauren Baker (25-1) hurled a one-hitter in her last outing on Thursday.
On the line was a trip to the final eight-team double-elimination championship bracket on Monday.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, Oregon Tech broke out offensively and handed Baker, TranSouth Pitcher of the Year, her first loss since May 24, 2010. That was a 3-1 decision to Shorter University in the 2010 NAIA Championships eight-team championship bracket. Trevecca's NAIA Championships Home Page
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the second when Oregon Tech scored a pair of runs. With one out Brittany Cherry singled and Ashleigh Larson followed with a single. Taylor Schmidt reached on a walk to load the bases. An out later the Hustlin' Owls catcher Kayde Schaefer dropped in a two-out single scoring Cherry and Larson.
In the fourth inning the Owls scored two more runs. Larson delivered a one-out single. She scored when Sara Coates hit a two-run home run.
In the bottom of the fifth the Owls forced the eight-run rule into effect with a four-run inning. Riley Mashburn came in to relieve Baker in the circle for Trevecca.
Andria Wheatly led-off with a single and Larson walked. That set the table for Jess Plummer, the OIT clean-up hitter, who hit a three-run home run. Cherry followed with a walk and Larson singled before Trevecca recorded an out.. After the Trojans recorded an out, Coates was hit-by-pitch, loading the bases. The game ended when Schaefer drew a walk to force in the winning run.
Trevecca's senior shortstop Kelsey Lantrip singled to open the game, but TNU couldn't manage another hit the rest of the way. The only other base runner was Breanna Zeis, who reached on an illegal pitch.
Baker pitched four innings, allowing seven hits, four runs, one walk, and had four strike outs. Riley Mashburn pitched a third of an inning and allowed three hits, four runs, and three walks.
Jackie Imhof performed nearly perfectly throughout the three-game pool schedule. She allowed just five hits, one walk, and no runs over the three games. That's three complete game shutouts with a perfect game and a one-hitter.
The loss ends one of the most successful seasons in Trevecca history.
Trevecca, who won their 20th consecutive game on Friday, last lost a game on April 2nd when Union defeated the Trojans 5-4. The 2011 Trojans fell six games short of the all-time consecutive wins record. The 2005 team holds the record after they won their first 26 games of the season. Trevecca had also won 35 of their last 36 games before today's loss.
Trevecca's record at the NAIA Softball Championship is now 16-12 overall. TNU is 14-4 in pool play games and are 2-8 in games played in the final eight-team championship bracket. This is the first time in five trips to the championships that Trevecca hasn't advanced to the eight-team championship bracket.