Softball/Missouri Valley 6, Avila 5

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sophomore Tatum Hathcock pitched over three innings of shutout relief to maintain a tie softball game until Missouri Valley College could win its regular season finale against visiting Avila in the bottom of the seventh inning, 6-5.

The victory clinched a spot for the Lady Vikings -- as the No. 8 seed -- in the Heart of America Conference Tournament, starting Thursday at Springfield.

Valley went on top in the bottom of the first inning on junior Heather Sliger's two-run homer, but the Lady Eagles erupted for five runs in the fourth.

Avila (17-20, 5-17 HAAC) loaded the bases with one out, getting an RBI single from junior Dina Juarez, followed by a triple by senior Ashley Talley -- who scored on sophomore Ali Scruggs' single.

That brought in Hathcock, who got out of the jam without any further damage and then allowed only one hit the rest of the way.

Sliger's second two-run shot of the game, and eighth homer of the season, closed the margin to 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth. Junior Esperanza Reyes doubled and came in with the tying run on a grounder.

Junior Kimberly Fuller singled with one out in the bottom of the seventh, moving to second on a passed ball and scoring when Reyes' pop up was dropped.

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Lady Vikings (16-25, 8-12).

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