TLU softball goes 5-1 in NFCA Leadoff Classic, Padilla earns weekly SCAC honor
Posted on 3/6/2018 7:46:00 AM.
(Tucson, Ariz.) - Ninth-ranked Texas Lutheran completed a 5-1 run through the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic with a 14-4 victory over No. 24 Babson (Mass.) and a 5-0 loss to defending NCAA Division III champion and No. 1-ranked Virginia Wesleyan on Sunday.

The Bulldogs' overall record now sits at 7-1. TLU knocked off three Top 25 teams - No. 2 St. John Fisher 4-3 on Friday, No. 24 Berry 9-7 on Saturday, and No. 24 Babson on Sunday - in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. (Berry and Babson are tied for 24th in the latest NFCA DIII poll.) TLU also edged Coe College 5-4 Friday and St. Thomas 4-2 on Saturday.

In the win over Babson, TLU collected 17 hits and led 12-0 after three innings.

TLU received home runs from Erica Garcia and Kassie Maddox against the Beavers. Maddox, TLU's selection to the Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team, went 3-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI. Garcia homered in a pinch-hit appearance.

Kyla Lockley drove in four against Babson. She finished 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Freshman utility player Haley Padilla had two hits and two runs scored.

On the weekend, Padilla hit .444 with three home runs, eight RBIs, and five runs scored to earn Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Bulldog freshman center fielder Kelly Jurden went 2-for-3 with two runs scored against Babson.

Maitlin Raycroft tossed three innings of shutout softball to pick up her fourth win. Raycroft (4-0) struck out six and allowed just two hits.

In the loss to Virginia Wesleyan, the Bulldogs fell behind 5-0 after three complete. The Marlins scored two runs (both unearned), two runs in the second and another in the third. Three of the Marlins' runs against TLU were unearned.

First Team All-American and National Pitcher of the Year Hanna Hull limited TLU to two hits in the complete-game shutout. Hull struck out nine and walked three.

Jurden and Kelsie McEachern had the two Bulldog hits. Jurden had a bloop double to left, and McEachern singled to right-center.

Hull improved to 9-0. Maddox dropped to 2-1 with the loss. Bulldog reliever Jordaine Bishop tossed four shutout innings. She surrendered just two hits and struck out four.

Friday against St. John Fisher, Bulldog second baseman Madisyn Cates hit a solo home run off 2017 First Team All-American Lindsay Thayer in the sixth to break a 3-3 tie, and Maddox closed out the game with a game-ending 1-6-3 double play.

In the seventh inning against Coe, Kelly Jurden started the frame with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one out and Jurden at second, McKay Bloxham doubled to the fence in left-center to drive home Jurden for the walk-off victory. Raycroft earned both pitching wins Friday.

Saturday against Berry, Padilla belted a three-run home run in the third and then smashed a two-run shot in the fourth. Padilla joined several other Bulldogs in the TLU record book for home runs in a game. Maddox pitched in relief and held Berry to one run over the final 5-1/3 innings. She also helped the TLU cause with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. She drove in three and scored a pair of runs.

In Saturday’s early game, Jordaine Bishop picked up her first career victory by going four innings against St. Thomas. Bishop allowed just two earned runs.

TLU returns to Texas to start Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play in Irving, Texas against University of Dallas. The Bulldogs and Crusaders start the four-game series with a 5 p.m. doubleheader Friday. The series concludes with a noon doubleheader Saturday.

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