The Edmond Sun
HAYS, Kan. —
Ally Dziadula set the tone in Central Oklahoma’s first at bat and the Bronchos erupted for nine first-inning runs en route to a stunning 11-3 winner’s bracket rout of top-seeded Fort Hays State (Kan.) in the NCAA Division II Central Regional I Tournament in Hays, Kan. Saturday.
Dziadula roped a triple off the right field fence to lead off the bottom of the first inning against FHSU ace Maddie Holub — who no-hit UCO in a 5-0 win last week — and the Bronchos got run-scoring hits from four different players in taking early control.
UCO added single runs in the second and fourth innings and Kalynn Schrock escaped a fifth-inning jam with a strikeout to prevent the Tigers from extending the game and polish off the run-rule romp.
“That was a good win and we’re excited that we get to come back tomorrow as the only undefeated team,” head coach Genny Stidham said. “We’ve struggled with our bats the last five or six games, but we knew at some point we were going to break out and fortunately that was today.”
The Bronchos improved to 44-11 with the win and advanced to Sunday’s 1 p.m. finals against a team to be determined, with the “if necessary” game to follow at 3:30. The tournament champion advances to next week’s Super Regional finals against the winner of the Central Regional II Tournament.
Holub, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Pitcher of the Year who had given up just 29 runs in 216 innings, overwhelmed the Bronchos in last week’s MIAA Post-season Tournament with her no-hitter.
But UCO dominated the senior right-hander this time, starting with Dziadula’s lead-off triple. The Bronchos ended up scoring eight runs on four hits and two errors against Holub, who lasted just 2/3 of an inning.
“I’m lead off and my job is to get on base,” Dziadula said. “That was my duty and I was going to do whatever it took to get the game started right for us.”
Schrock struck out the side in the top of the first inning to get UCO going and Dziadula promptly greeted Holub with her second triple of the season to ignite the Bronchos.
Kacie Edwards drew a one-out walk to put runners at the corners before Nicole Workman’s double to right pushed across the first run and Sam Cool was hit by pitch to load the bases.
Hayley Hudson followed with a line-drive single to left field that scored two runs, Tori Collet’s base hit to right made it 4-0 and Hannah Justus reached on a fielder’s choice to fill the bases again.
The Tigers got the second out of the inning on a grounder back to Holub for a force at home, but FHSU’s shortstop threw the ball away on a Dziadula grounder that allowed three runs to motor home and up the lead to 7-0.
Kaylee Brunson was hit by pitch and promptly stole second to set up Edwards with two runners in scoring position and the senior slugger came through with a double to left-center field to bump UCO’s cushion to 9-0 before the Tigers could get out of the inning.
The Bronchos added to that in the second with three more hits, starting with Cool’s lead-off infield single. Collet had a one-out single and both runners advanced on Justus’ sacrifice bunt before Devyn Frazier singled to right to score Cool, with Collet getting thrown out at home on a close play.
Fort Hays State got on the scoreboard in the third and UCO got that run back in the fourth on Collet’s third home run of the season, this one a massive two-out shot to left-center field that made it 11-1.
The Tigers scored twice in the fifth on two singles and two hit batters in an effort to extend the game, but Schrock finally ended the drama with a strikeout.
Schrock improved to 27-6 with the win, giving up three hits and one earned run while fanning seven.
Collet went 3-for-3 to lead UCO’s 11-hit attack, with Dziadula adding two hits.