Courtesy of Midland Athletics
YUKON, Okla. – With a weekend rainstorm lingering into Monday morning, Midland University saw its opening game of the NAIA Opening Round against Mount Mercy University shifted to a full turf field at Yukon High School. The Warriors and Mustangs took indoor batting practice while the field drained before their 2:00 p.m. start. Each team sent their ace to the circle and after nine innings, Midland was able to walk off a winner, 2-1, thanks to timely doubles with two outs.
Things got going as Emily Prai started off the 1st with a single over the infield after Aliyah Rincon struck out the side in the top half. After Roni Foote worked a six-pitch walk, Carly Pfitzer laid down a sacrifice bunt to push the runners up a bag into scoring position.
With the corners in, looking to cut down the runner at the place, Amanda Schmadererbattled at the plate before hitting a hot shot back up the middle. The Mustangs’ shortstop was able to glove the ball but the ensuing throw home was tardy and off-target as Prai slid in to score the game’s first run.
Rincon kept dealing in the circle with Ali Smith behind the plate catching. The duo recorded two more punchouts in the 2nd and would have four multi-strikeout innings on the afternoon.
In the 3rd, Mount Mercy took advantage of a lead-off single and then played small ball with back-to-back sacrifice bunts to put the runner at third base. A slow tapper back to shortstop forced a tough throw that went wide, allowing the tying run to score and the batter to reach second. The Warriors would get out of the inning with just one unearned run allowed.
Neither team could string together hits until the Mustangs started off the 8th with back-to-back singles.
A foul-out behind the plate caught by Smith, followed by a flyout to right, and a strikeout by Rincon ended the threat with a runner on first and second.
After Midland was set down in order by Mount Mercy’s ace, who had a dozen strikeouts, Rincon ran her strikeout count to 14 in the 9th inning. That gave Midland a third chance to win via a walk-off in the home half.
Following the first two batters getting sat down by the Mustangs, Rincon came up to the plate and delivered her second double hit of the game. With the wind blowing across the diamond from left field to right, she flared the ball out over the top of the right fielder. As the ball rolled all the way to the wall, she sprinted her way to a two-out double.
With the winning run at second, Alexis Page came up and battled with the pitcher. She came through with a flyball over the top of the right fielder, who misread the ball off the bat for the second-straight time. As the ball came down and rolled to the fence, Rincon rounded third and came in to score the game-winning run.
- Aliyah Rincon: 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 14 K… 2-for-4, R, 2B
- Emily Prai: 1-for-4, R
- Alexis Page: 1-for-3, RBI, 2B
Midland (37-12) advances in the winner’s bracket where they’ll await the winner of the Oklahoma City versus Texas A&M-San Antonio game. Start time of the Tuesday, May 16 game is set for 1:00 p.m. back at Ann Lacy Stadium in Oklahoma City.