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No. 1 Lancers nip Blue Hawks

DECATUR, Ala. -- Something had to give eventually. Unfortunately for Dickinson State, that something turned out to be the saving grace for No. 1-ranked California Baptist. Blue Hawks freshman pitcher Sara Jane Webster battled CBU pitcher Amy Thom...

DECATUR, Ala. -- Something had to give eventually.

Unfortunately for Dickinson State, that something turned out to be the saving grace for No. 1-ranked California Baptist.

Blue Hawks freshman pitcher Sara Jane Webster battled CBU pitcher Amy Thomas through 11 scoreless innings before Webster's wild pitch in the top of the 12th inning sent Nikki Lowe racing home for what turned out be the game-winning run on Friday at the NAIA national softball championships.

Thomas eased through the heart of DSU's order in the bottom of the 12th and sealed a draining 1-0 victory in a Pool A game that started more than two hours after the scheduled time after Thursday night rainfall made the field unplayable early Friday morning.

"It was an exciting game," DSU coach Guy Fridley said. "We played extremely well."

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However, not even one of Webster's best performances of her young collegiate career could save the eighth-ranked Blue Hawks. The freshman finished with 11 strikeouts and walked just four. However, the Blue Hawks left 13 players on base.

"We had opportunities," Fridley said. "That's all we could give ourselves was opportunities to win the game."

Kelly Jahn, who went 4-for-5, had a chance to bring home leadoff hitter Amanda Mickey in the first inning. But perhaps as an omen of things to come, Mickey was thrown out at home plate.

DSU then left two players in scoring position in the fourth, had Webster ground into a bases-loaded fielder's choice in the sixth before Jenna Eger popped out to leave the bases loaded and again loaded the bases to no avail in the 10th.

Mickey, Danielle Abrahamson and Nikki Marcoux had consecutive singles to lead off the 10th inning. After Lantz flied out, Jahn reached on a fielder's choice when Mickey was again thrown out at home. Thomas got out of the inning unscathed by ironically striking out Webster.

"In some sense I'm just a little speechless because our kids deserved it so much," Fridley said.

DSU's disappointing 10th inning set up CBU's game-winning run in the 12th.

Lowe singled and advanced to second base after a sacrifice bunt. She went to third on a fielder's choice before coming home on Webster's wild throw to Sarah Hurlbut.

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After giving up the run, Webster struck out Hurlbut to end the inning.

Despite the loss, Fridley wasn't disappointed with the Blue Hawks' effort.

"We went toe-to-toe with the No. 1 team in the nation," Fridley said. "For 12 innings, we flat out out-played them."

Blue Hawks 5, Bethel 2

Abrahamson and Marcoux each drove in two runs and Webster struck out 12 in her second pitching appearance of the day to help DSU stay alive in the tournament with a victory over Bethel (Ind.)

The game didn't start until around 10:30 p.m. CDT and ended around 12:30 a.m.

Marcoux went 2-for-4. The junior first baseman drove in Mickey in the first inning and then stole home to put DSU ahead 2-0.

With the bases loaded in the second inning, Abrahamson hit a two-run single to shallow left field to send home Jamie McIntyre and Ashley Neufeld and give the Blue Hawks a 4-0 advantage.

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On the next at-bat, Marcoux singled through the gap at shortstop to again score Mickey and give DSU a 5-0 lead.

The Blue Hawks improved to 36-8 with the victory while Bethel, which entered the game with the best record in the nation, dropped to 50-5.

California Baptist 1, Dickinson State 0

CBU 000 000 000 001 -- 1 4 0

DSU 000 000 000 000 -- 0 10 2

Amy Thomas and Nicole Shoemaker. Sara Jane Webster and Jamie McIntyre. W-Thomas. L-Webster (20-3).

Highlights: CBU, Thomas CG, 9 K, 4 BB; Sara Goforth 1-for-5; Nikki Lowe 1-for-5, run; Karina Slauenwhite 1-for-3; Nicole Shoemaker 1-for-4. DSU, Webster CG, 11 K, 4 BB, 1 ER; Amanda Mickey 1-for-4; Nikki Marcoux 3-for-6; Kelly Jahn 4-for-5; Jenna Eger 1-for-5; DSU left 13 on base.

Records: CBU 55-6, DSU 35-8.

NAIA National Championships

Note: Only games in Dickinson State's Pool are listed. All times listed are MDT.

Pool A

Games Friday

California Baptist 6, Indiana Southeast 3

Bethel 6, Shorter 5

California Baptist 1, Dickinson State 0.(12 innings)

Shorter 14, Indiana Southeast 5 (6 innings)

Dickinson State 5, Bethel 2

Games today

California Baptist vs. Shorter, 9 a.m.

Indiana Southeast vs. Bethel, 11:30 a.m.

Dickinson State vs. Shorter, 1 p.m.

California Baptist vs. Bethel, 3:30 p.m.

Dickinson State vs. Indiana Southeast, 6 p.m.

Top two teams in each pool advance to eight-team, double-elimination tournament which begins Monday and concludes Wednesday.

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