The TWU Pioneers defeated Grand Canyon 7-5 on Sunday to finish third at the 2013 NFCA Leadoff Classic in Tucson, Ariz.
The Pioneers (10-4) began the day with a 6-3 loss in the semifinals to Southeastern Oklahoma State to fall into the third-place game against Grand Canyon. The Pioneers advanced to the championship bracket by finishing pool play with a 4-0 record.
Southeastern went on to defeat West Texas A&M 3-2 in the championship game. The Lady Buffs advanced to the final after defeating Grand Canyon.
In the semifinals, the Pioneers fell behind 4-0 after three innings, as the Savage Storm scored a run in the first, a run in the second and two in the third. TWU got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning when senior Lizzy Kelly hit her first home run of the season.
Southeastern responded with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it 6-1. Junior Hayley Colwell drove in the Pioneers’ second run in the fifth with a RBI double, while senior Jordan Readicker hit her third home run of the season in the seventh to round out the scoring.
In the third-place game, the Pioneers again fell behind after three innings as Grand Canyon opened up a 3-0 lead. TWU rallied to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the fourth before going on top in the fifth with a single run. The Pioneers scored three more in the sixth to extend the lead to 7-3. Grand Canyon scored a run in the sixth and a run in the seventh to finish the scoring.
Senior Larisa Garcia tossed three innings in relief for the win, while junior Brandie Lander got the final four outs to pick up her second save of the weekend.
Colwell, sophomore Kathryn Williams and Kelly all drove in two runs on the day.
“I am extremely excited and proud of the girls for representing TWU well at the nation’s top tournament,” head coach Richie Bruister said. “There were some top teams from around the country at this tournament and finishing third overall is very good. We got good pitching and good hitting when we needed it the entire weekend. The one loss against Southeastern Oklahoma State, we beat ourselves with wild pitches and passed balls.”
The Pioneers return to action Saturday for the two-day St. Edward’s Tournament in Austin, where they will face host St. Edward’s and Texas A&M-International each day.