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Liz Stark
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Courtesy of Midland Athletics

CHICKASHA, Okla. – Midland University began play in the NAIA Opening Round on Monday as they took on Louisiana State University of Alexandria. Behind an impressive pitching performance from Aliyah Rincon and a handful of spectacular defensive plays, the Warriors picked up a 2-0 win over the General inside Bill Smith Ballpark.

Midland was solid from the onset as Rincon and catcher Amanda Schmaderer, picked up back-to-back strikeouts to begin the game. LSUA was able to get a runner on base in its second at-bat with a two-out walk, but that would be it until the final trip to the batter’s box.

Meanwhile, the Warriors opened things up with a leadoff hit to start each of their first two innings. Emily Prai got a single to left field in the 1st while Schmaderer opened the 2nd with a similar hit placement. They were both left stranded as the Generals’ defense settled in to get out of the innings.

In the 3rd, Ariyana Crafton sparked the Midland dugout with a one-out single. In her second trip to the plate, Prai worked a walk to put two runners on base for Reese Floro, who was back in the lineup after missing some time with an injury.

Floro stepped up and delivered a hit through the gap and into left field. As the outfielder came up with the ball, Crafton rounded third and headed home. The throw was short of the catcher, allowing Crafton to slide in for the first run of the game. Prai advanced to third, putting runners on the corner.

As Brie Lively entered to run for Floro, Roni Foote battled at the plate. After falling behind in the count, she delivered an RBI single to the gap in left-center, scoring Prai for the insurance run.

The Generals kept battling at the plate as well but had trouble catching up with Rincon’s pitches. They fouled several off, allowing the Warriors’ defense to make a handful of outs in foul territory. In the top of 5th, Floro delivered one of those plays. On a pop-up near the first-base on-deck circle, she braced herself on the netting to snag the ball for an out. An inning later, it was Schmaderer making the play near the netting for the out up the third base side.

In the 7th, LSUA was able to work a pair of walks with one out and looked to break through in its final at-bat. A hotshot line drive to the left side of the infield was snagged by an excellently positioned Matti Reiling. She quickly assessed the runners and doubled up the trail runner at first base to end the game.

Midland scored two runs on six hits with no errors while LSUA was held without a hit or a run while committing one error.

Statistical Standouts

Midland (43-10) will be back in action on Wednesday at noon against the winner of No. 4-seeded Baker and top-seeded Science & Arts, which takes place on Tuesday afternoon. It will be a rematch from early in the season as the Warriors faced both teams during their nonconference schedule.

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