Ladies Down Southern Utah in Dramatic Fashion
Friday, April 13, 2007

Files associated with this release:
CC-SUU Box Score 4-13-07

Lin Virdell

Ryan Thacker

Kelsey Greeson

Jennifer Martin

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary softball team scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to knock off Southern Utah 4-3 in the opening game of a Mid-Continent Conference series on Friday night. The second game of the doubleheader was cancelled due to rain and the teams will now play two games on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.


Southern Utah’s Marissa Gonzalez was impressive throughout the game, often throwing her fastball by the Ladies’ hitters. The right handed hurler allowed only two hits to Centenary until the sixth inning. However, the pair of hits along with some perfect strategic execution led to the first two runs of the game for the Ladies.


Centenary (19-17, 4-0 Mid-Con) opened the second inning with a single from Micah Rhodes. After a strikeout and a sacrifice bunt, Lauren Flowers walked to keep the inning alive. Lin Virdell then took the first pitch of her at-bat, which allowed Rhodes and Flowers to pull off a double steal, putting both runners in scoring position. Virdell followed with a sharp single to right field to put the Ladies on top 2-0.


Southern Utah (16-21, 3-4 Mid-Con), known for its heavy hitting lineup, was kept under control by Centenary pitcher Ryan Thacker for most of the game. Thacker allowed a few soft hits here and there and the two hardest balls hit through the first four innings were snagged by Centenary defenders. Virdell made an unbelievable diving play on a pop-up in shallow center field while running away from the infield and Jennifer Martin’s leaping snag of a line drive on the warning track was highlight material as well.


The Thunderbirds seemed to solve Thacker in the fifth as she surrendered a single and a double to open the frame. With McKell Ashton at the plate, the ninth hitter in the Southern Utah batting order, Thacker made a mistake and Ashton deposited it over the left field fence for her second homerun of the year. The three-run drive gave the visitors the 3-2 lead.


Centenary avoided another Southern Utah rally in the sixth as reliever Kelsey Greeson induced a strikeout and a groundout to get out of the jam. Other than the errant pitch by Thacker in the fifth, the Ladies staff shut down the heart of the SUU batting order. The four middle hitters (Marci Pratt, Bobbi Jo Merrill, Erin Niederhauser, and Lindi Kennedy) had combined for a whopping 30 of the Thunderbirds’ 38 dingers on the season, but the quartet was a combined 1-for-12 with two walks on Friday.


The game was delayed for 45 minutes in the top of the seventh when heavy rains arrived. When play resumed, Greeson struck out Kennedy with Pratt on second to bring the Ladies up for their final at-bat.


Freshman Brittany Williams singled off of Gonzalez to start the inning and the Centenary dugout started to get loud. Greeson ran for Williams and Allison McClain’s grounder found its way through the middle to put runners on first and second. Gonzalez then fanned Flowers for the first out as her attempt to advance the runners was unsuccessful.


Virdell, up again in a critical situation, rolled a softly hit grounder to second base that was fielded by Ashton. Ashton attempted to tag McClain, but was too late and when she wheeled to throw to first, Virdell had beaten the throw. With bases now loaded, Martin chopped a single up the middle to score both Greeson and McClain to give Centenary the 4-3 victory.


Greeson (7-6) picked up the win in relief for the Ladies after throwing two and two-thirds scoreless innings. She allowed two hits and a walk while striking out three Thunderbirds on the evening. Thacker’s final line included four innings and three runs on six hits with three strikeouts.


Gonzalez was saddled with the loss for Southern Utah, falling to 9-7 on the season. She gave up all four runs on eight hits, six in the last two innings, and struck out seven in the complete game.