Softball Defeats Houston-Victoria to Open Pool Play
GULF SHORES, AL - Back-to-back RBI doubles by Kayla Yount and Rebecca Lipsey gave No. 20 Central Methodist a 2-0 victory over No. 11 Houston-Victoria (Texas) on the opening day of pool play in the 32nd Annual NAIA Softball Championship. The Eagles (41-12) also used stellar pitching from Aubrey Utley, who threw a seven-hit shutout against the Jaguars (39-9).
Central Methodist moves to 1-0 in Pool F, while Houston-Victoria drops to 0-1. With the win, Central Methodist also ties a single-season school record for victories, which the Eagles set in 2011. Central Methodist improves to 2-2 all-time in the national tournament after last appearing in 1981.
Central Methodist broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning after Kelsey Johnley scored on a double by Yount. Lipsey and Yount traded places in the next at-bat, giving the Eagles an insurance run.
Yount's RBI marked a team-high 47th this season and moved the Olathe, Kansas, native into third on the school's single-season RBI list. She is tied with Stephanie Sullivant, who recorded 47 in 2010. Yount is eight behind breaking Christy Jones' mark of 54 set in 1996.
Yount and Lipsey each recorded their 15th double of the season, moving them into a tie with Jones (1996), Jordyn Tolliver (2011) and Joleen Pollard (2005) for fourth on the Central Methodist single-season record list. Yount and Lipsey are six doubles away from passing Sullivant's record of 20, which she set twice in 2010 and 2011.
Utley (26-5) improved on her single-season school record for wins and struck out five on Thursday. Utley now has 157 strikeouts this season and moved past Chelsea Fuemmeler (155 in 2010) for third on the Central Methodist single-season list.
Utley also recorded her 50th career win, which ranks third in Eagle history and five behind McCall Kenney's 55 (2007-10), and eighth shutout of 2012, which is two behind her own single-season mark of 10 from last season.
Central Methodist will face No. 6-ranked nationally and the top seed in Pool F, William Carey (Miss.), on Friday at 12:30 p.m. CDT.