The Edmond Sun
Kacie Edwards saved one of the biggest hits of a sensational four-year Central Oklahoma career for her final home at bat Sunday afternoon, ripping a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to propel the Bronchos past Northwest Missouri, 5-4.
Edwards’ dramatic homer completed a doubleheader sweep of the Bearcats and gave No. 21-ranked UCO its 20th consecutive home win as the Bronchos completed a 4-0 weekend to capture the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association championship in their first year in the league. The senior third baseman/designated player had two homers and four RBIs in a 5-3 first-game win before coming through again in the nightcap, blasting her 18th homer of the season — and 52nd of her record-setting career — to straightaway center field.
NWMSU broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth, but Ally Dziadula came through with a two-strike single to lead off UCO’s half of the inning and Edwards followed one-out later with her walk-off blast.
“Kacie is a great player who has come through for us many times during her career and to cap it off the way she did today is just incredible,” head coach Genny Stidham. “We didn’t play very well today, but we found a way to pull out two tough wins against a good team and we’re excited to be the conference champs.”
Central Oklahoma, now 38-9 on the season, ended up 22-3 in the conference to claim the title and will take the No. 1 seed into the MIAA Post-season Tournament that begins Thursday in Overland Park, Kan.
Nicole Workman’s solo homer in the second inning had UCO tied with the Bearcats through two innings of the second game before NWMSU scored two runs on one hit in the third to go up 3-1.
The Bronchos tied it in the fourth when Workman drew a one-out walk and Hayley Hudson followed with a moon shot over the flag pole in center field to tie it and it stayed that way until the eighth.
Northwest Missouri scored once in the top of that inning and had the bases loaded with one out before pitcher Amanda McClelland got a force out at home and a strikeout to end the inning.
That put UCO in a 4-3 hole, but the Bronchos were up to the task.
McClelland earned the pitching win to improve to 8-2, giving up five hits while striking out six in an 143-pitch outing. UCO managed just five hits, getting two from Dziadula.
Kalynn Schrock picked up her third complete-game pitching victory of the weekend in the opener, allowing six hits and two earned runs while fanning nine.
The Bronchos broke on top 1-0 in the first on Workman’s run-scoring double and made it 4-0 in the third when Edwards drilled a three-run homer down the right-field line.