GULF SHORES, Ala. (May 19, 2012) - Sarah Mendez went 2-for-3 at the plate and struck out 10 batters from the circle to lead No.5 Lubbock Christian University to a 3-2 win over No.12 Union University (Tenn.) to close out pool play at the NAIA Softball National Championship tournament Saturday afternoon at Sportsplex. With the win, LCU were the co-winners of their pool, but are unable to advance to bracket play, as Indiana Southeast held the tiebreaker by defeating LCU Thursday to advance.
LCU jumped on the scoreboard first with McKinzie Clemmons utilizing her speed to take the first lead. She reached on an infield single and then stole her 38th stolen base of the season. That set up a Mendez double to right centerfield to score Clemmons for a 1-0 lead. They added two more runs in the fourth inning off three hits and a pair of Union errors. Kenzie Carnell was way off third base following a pitch to Latainna Eltsosie and catcher Katie Beth Fesmire threw down to third base, but no one was covering the base and the wild throw went into left field allowing Carnell to score. Amanda Longorio singled through the left side to score Andrea Argee for a 3-0 lead. Union stormed back in the top of the sixth inning. DeShuni Sanders led off the inning with a single and then Shelby Lamb followed with a two-run home run to right centerfield. Trailing 3-2, Union placed a pair in scoring position, but a foul out ended the threat. They had the tying run aboard with two outs in the seventh inning, but Mendez forced Lamb to ground out to second base to claim the win and record her 19th complete game of the season.
Mendez had an RBI at the plate and in the circle she allowed two runs off five hits. She closes the season with a 22-1 record and a 1.20 ERA. Mendez, Amanda Longorio and Kim Frazier each went 2-for-3 in the game for LCU. The loss was credited to Brooke Thomas, who fell to 24-7. She allowed three earned runs off eight hits in five innings. Jennyce Spence led Union at the plate going 2-for-2. LCU recorded nine stolen bases and came one steal shy of matching the tournament single-game record of 10 set by Bethany (Kan.) on the same field in the game played prior the Lady Chaps contest.
The game placed Union with a final record of 46-12 overall and LCU completes the season with a mark of 56-8. They are 18-8 all-time in national championship tournament play. The game not only brings a close to the season, but it concludes the playing career of six LCU seniors. Brittany Kent, Carollin Hall, Marissa Coats, Frazier, Andrea Argee and Loren Phelps.