BEAUMONT, Texas - Abilene Christian used a two-out home run in the seventh, and a two-run ninth to top UTA 5-4 in the National Invitational Softball Championship Beaumont Regional first round.
The Mavericks (32-27), falling for the first time after a 22-0 record when leading after the sixth, attempted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth as senior Mallory Foster sent the first pitch of the inning over the centerfield wall. However, ACU would shut the door in recording three consecutive outs as it improved to 33-20.
The Mavs pushed five hits across the board as it was opportunistic in picking up a 3-2 advantage. Two consecutive walks that were compiled by an error and a ground out answered two ACU runs in the second to tie the game at two apiece.
A well-practiced bunt game came to life to make it a one-run advantage for the Mavs in the fourth. Foster reached on a four-pitch walk and Kayci Moore, who came in to pinch run, scored on back-to-back bunts that included a suicide-squeeze by Kacey Everett.
UTA appeared to double up the lead, however, after an umpire had ruled a play was a catch in the infield, Krista Rude was not ruled to have scored as the home plate umpire ruled the play dead.
ACU took advantage in the seventh with the home run, and then used a UTA error to take the lead on a two-out triple to the wall. They'd follow it up with a hit through the infield, a crucial insurance run to counter the home run in the bottom half.
Sam Montes picked up the loss despite a strong outing in seven innings pitched. Montes went to 4-5, striking out two after being charged with three runs - two earned. Sam Clakley pitched the opening two innings, striking out one and giving up two runs, neither earned.
The Mavericks will face elimination from the NISC on Wednesday, taking on ULM (who lost to Lamar on Tuesday) at 12 p.m. The meeting will be the 101st between the two programs. UTA fell to 2-3 all-time in postseason play as it made its first appearance since 2003.
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