It was a tale of two games for the Culver-Stockton College softball team on the first full day of the Heart of America Athletic Conference Softball Tournament at Heritage Park in St. Joseph, Mo.
The ninth-seeded Wildcats plated two runs late in their opening game and upset top-seeded and 21st-ranked Grand View University (Iowa) 2-1. In its second game Thursday, C-SC was limited to two hits in a 9-1 loss to fourth-seeded Avila University (Mo.).
The Wildcats (24-25) are scheduled to play sixth-seeded MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) at 12:30 p.m. Friday. If they win, the Wildcats will play at 5:30 p.m. C-SC will have to win five straight games to win the title.
In the opener, the Vikings, who had swept the Wildcats in a doubleheader by a combined score of 30-7 just two weeks ago, jumped out to 1-0 lead on a two-out single by Lexi Merrit in the third inning.
C-SC broke through in the sixth inning with the help of a key Grand View error.
Avery Johnson opened the inning with her second hit of the game and was sacrificed to second by Katie Kroll. Cassie Burris followed with a single to centerfield. At first Johnson stopped at third; however, Stanzy Snyder's throw was wild and it allowed Johnson to score the tying run and Burris to advance to second base.
After Megan Creek struck out, Kirsten Burris came through with a two-out single to score her sister with the go-ahead run. McKena O'Donnell allowed just a walk over the final two innings, incouding setting the Vikings down in order in the seventh inning, to preseve the victory.
O'Donnell went the distance, scattering seven hits, to improve to 12-10 on the season. She walked three and struck out four in the game. Offensively, the Wildcats had five total hits with Johnson and C. Burris colecting two hits each.
Against Avila, the Wildcats were down 4-0 before recording their first hit, a Kroll single, in the fourth inning. C-SC plated its only run in the fifth inning on a double by K. Burris, a stolenm base and a passed ball.
The Eagles, who will play Evangel in the winner's bracket final at 3 p.m. Friday, registered 15 hits against three Wildcat pitchers. Five of the 15 hits went for extra bases, including four doubles.