JACKSON, Tenn. - 5/13/2005 - The Union University Lady Bulldog softball team needed one extra inning to earn the NAIA Region XI Title as they topped Campbellsville 3-1 in eight innings. With this win, Union earns the automatic bid to the NAIA Softball World Series in Decatur, Alabama next week (May 20-25). For Union, this is their fifth straight trip to the national tournament and sixth in seven seasons. In NAIA Region XI Tournaments, this is Union fourth title in the past five seasons.
Union took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a homer by first baseman Danielle Pope. For Pope, this was her 14 homerun of the season, which continues to set a new season record in that category with each round tripper. Junior pitcher Jackie Cliff made that lead stand up until the bottom of the sixth inning in which Campbellsville tied the game. A passed ball allowed a runner to advance to third base, which set up a perfectly excecuted squeeze play to tie the game.
Union's top hurler and NAIA Region XI Pitcher of the Year, Mary Kosco, came in to stop Campbellsville's rally. In the top of the eighth, Union had bases loaded with one out and Jessica Kee at the plate. Just yesterday, Kee's suicide squeeze gave Union the 1-0 win over Campbellsville in the winner's bracket championship. Today would produce the same results as Kee's bunt was perfect to score Holly Haycraft from third base. A single later by Chrissa Norton gave Union an extra run to make the lead 3-1. That would be enough as Kosco pitched a perfect bottom of the eight to earn the win.
In the two games between Campbellsville and Union in this tournament (the winner's bracket final and the championship game), three suicide squeeze bunts produced three of the five total runs. Also, in Union's three wins (25 total innings) in the tournament, the Lady Bulldogs allowed just the one run in the title game.
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