SAN ANTONIO, Texas (May 6, 2017) – Lubbock Christian University took two games from Heartland Conference Tournament host No. 19 St. Mary’s Saturday at Rattlers’ Softball Park, winning both games by a score of 4-2 to be crowned the 2017 Heartland Conference Tournament Champions and secure their spot in the NCAA Div. II South Central Regional Tournament next weekend.
The Lady Chaps (39-17) got off to a slow start at the plate in the opening game, held to one hit through the first three innings. Their pitching was able to match it, holding the Rattlers (42-14) to two hits during the span. LCU finally got a run on the scoreboard in the fourth inning, as Lindzi Clemmer drove in Katera Eltsosie to put LCU up 1-0.
Addison Ard lined a ball up the middle in the sixth inning to bring home Casey Ingram and Sydney Beuthien, and Alyssa Hanks followed with a double to score Clemmer to put the Lady Chaps up 4-0. St. Mary’s got two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning off a Brenda Iparraguirre two-run home run to complete the scoring.
Katera Eltsosie (21-5) earned the start in the circle for the Lady Chaps in the first gam. She went the distance and allowed two runs off of five hits, while striking out seven batters for her 21st victory this year. Hope Russell (8-2) started for StMU, going 5.1 innings and giving up three runs on five hits to suffer only her second loss this season. Ashley Mills came in to relieve her, but she only lasting two outs, giving up another run before giving way to Katelyn Corley for the final inning.
LCU scored four runs in the first inning of the 'if necessary' game and never looked back. The Lady Chaps led off the game with back-to-back hits before Eltsosie drove in Courtney Medina. Clemmer followed with a single to centerfield to drive in Ingram, before both Eltsosie and Clemmer scored on a throwing error by the Rattlers shortstop to put LCU up 4-0. St. Mary’s managed to get two runs in the bottom of the first inning and the score remained the same throughout.
Senior Katlyn Holmes (8-6) started the ‘if necessary’ game for the Lady Chaps earning the complete game victory (sixth of the season). She allowed two runs on five hits. Jordan Russell (17-7) started in the circle for the Rattlers. She went the complete game and surrendered four runs on eight hits to suffer her seventh loss this year.
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
Four Lady Chaps were selected to the All-Tournament Team, led by Tournament MVP Katera Eltsosie (pitcher). Lindzi Clemmer (infield), Casey Ingram (infield) and Sara Ralston (catcher) were Lady Chaps also selected to the Heartland Conference Tournament All-Tournament Team.
The Heartland Conference Tournament title marks LCU’s second straight Heartland Conference Tournament title. They have won the tournament each season they have been NCAA and Heartland Conference postseason eligible. LCU has three postseason conference tournament championships in their program history. They have claimed one Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament (2013) and two Heartland Conference Tournament (2016, 2017) championship banners.
The win punches the ticket for the Lady Chaps to the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament, as they received an automatic qualifier. Monday morning at 9 a.m. (CST), the NCAA will host a selection show to reveal the 64 teams moving on and where they will each play.