LOS ANGELES -- The Loyola Marymount softball team (32-24-1) picked up a 10-5 victory over the UT Arlington Mavericks (30-27) in the opening game of the 2018 Postseason NISC championship round at Smith Field Wednesday afternoon. The Lions now advance to the winner's bracket and will play UC Riverside (37-22), who defeated Eastern Kentucky (44-20) 9-6 in Game 2 today, on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. PT.
UT Arlington jumped to an early lead against LMU, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning as Aileen Garcia singled to right field scoring Krista Rude, and Reagan Wright singled to right center scoring Garcia and Whitney Walton to take a 3-0 lead.
The Mavericks' lead didn't last long as LMU came bounced back up to bat in the bottom of the first. Freshman Andrea Gonzalez first got the Lions on the board with an RBI single, scoring senior Lindsey Matoi to make it 3-1. Still in the bottom of the first, with the bases loaded, senior Alicia Brown drilled a shot over the left field fence for the grand slam, scoring Gonzalez along with freshmen Delanie Wisz and Molly Grumbo. Brown's grand slam put LMU up 5-3 to end the opening inning.
The Mavericks tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the second off a Walton RBI double scoring sisters Sandra Mendoza and Melanie Mendoza, but LMU regained the lead in the third scoring two runs to go up 7-5. Senior Brooke Christensen put LMU back in the lead with the first third-inning run, driving home Wisz with an RBI single to UTA's shortstop, and Brown also made it home on an error by the Mavericks.
The fourth and fifth innings were scoreless before the Lions scored three more runs in the sixth to cap their 10-5 win. Freshman Maddison Flores got the inning started with a double to left field, putting herself in scoring position, and was later moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Sabrina Tebou. Senior Lindsey Matoi slammed a double to left field next to get the RBI as Flores rounded home. Grumbo secured another sacrifice bunt next to move Matoi to third, which was followed by a two-run homer to left field by Wisz to bring herself and Matoi home and put LMU up 10-5.
Brown finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, home run and four RBI. She had an impressive start to the championship round after being named the NISC Regional MVP last week at Northern Colorado with a slugging percentage of 1.167 and batting average of .583.
Linnay Wilson earned the win on the mound for the Lions, picking up her 10th win of the season after pitching six innings while allowing just four hits and one earned run.
UT Arlington and Eastern Kentucky will square off in the loser's bracket tomorrow at 10 a.m. with winner advancing to the 3 p.m. game and the loser facing elimination.
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