Mallory Koschany was 3-for-3 with four runs driven in and Katera Eltsosie continued her reign against No.23 Friends University (Kan.), as No.2 Lubbock Christian University moved into the championship game of the Lubbock Christian Bracket of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round with a 8-0 run-rule victory in five innings Tuesday afternoon at sunny PlainsCapital Park.
All eight runs came in the bottom of the second inning and were produced off six hits, including a pair of deep balls. Mallory Koschany, who produced a triple to right-centerfield in her first at-bat, hit another deep hit to right-centerfield and this one was a couple feet further to inch over the fence for the team's first grand slam of the season. It provided LCU a 5-0 lead, as LCU's opening run was off a RBI-double to left-centerfield by Ashton Bell. Latainna Eltsosie followed three batters later with a three-run home run over the left field fence for her 12th homer of the season.
Katera Eltsosie, who pitched seven scoreless innings against Friends in a 7-0 win Feb.15, went five scoreless innings for a complete game victory (28-4). She struck out four and allowed four hits. Koschany was a double shy of the cycle and her home run was her third of the season. She has two of her three home runs on the season against Friends.
The outcome for Friends was an unlikely one, as they fall to 43-7 on the season. They suffered their first loss of more than a one-run deficit since Mar.8, ending a stretch of 39 games. The loss was their first run-rule loss of the season and the second time they have been shutout. Both shutout losses (last was on Feb.15) have come against Katera Eltsosie and the Lady Chaps. Friends starting pitcher Kelsey Garner suffered her first loss of the season (25-1), allowing eight runs in two innings pitched off seven hits.
LCU, improving to 57-7 on the season, moves a win away from a trip to Columbus, Ga. and the final site of the NAIA Softball National Championship. They will play at 1 p.m. Wednesday and their opponent would have to defeat the Lady Chaps twice to advance. LCU, on a 16-game win streak, only has to win once.