Special to The Sun
SALEM, Va. —
Kalynn Schrock dominated in the pitching circle and Kaylee Brunson came through with a tie-breaking triple to lift Central Oklahoma past fourth-ranked Armstrong Atlantic 5-2 in Salem, Va. Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Division II Championship Finals.
It was the sixth straight postseason win for the No. 19-ranked Bronchos, who improved to 48-11 and moved into today’s 3 p.m. semifinal game against either defending national champion Valdosta State or Malloy.
Schrock gave up just two hits and no walks while striking out 15 — including 10 of the final 12 batters she faced — in improving to 31-6 on the season and 6-0 in the postseason.
Brunson had the biggest hit of the game with a two-run triple in the fifth inning that snapped a 2-2 tie. Hayley Hudson added a sacrifice fly to push UCO’s lead to 5-2 and that was plenty of cushion with Schrock in control.
“Kalynn was fantastic today, like she has been all season,” head coach Genny Stidham said. “She really had good movement on her pitches and was finding her spots all day. Kacie (Edwards) and Kaylee had a couple of big hits for us and we were able to beat a really good team.”
Edwards’ big hit came in the third when she blasted her 19th home run of the season to give the Bronchos a 2-0 lead. Hannah Justus had reached on an error to start the inning and Edwards — after staying alive when the Pirates dropped a pop-up in foul territory — drove the next pitch over the left-center field wall.
Armstrong Atlantic University had its first and only two hits of the game in the bottom of the third to tie it, getting a one-out single and a two-out, two-run homer.
It stayed 2-2 until the fifth when UCO surged in front to stay.
Justus and Ally Dziadula led off with back-to-back infield singles before advancing a base on a wild pitch and Brunson drove them both in with a triple to right-center. Hudson padded the lead with a fly ball to center field that easily scored Brunson.
Schrock did the rest, retiring the final 12 batters of the game and striking out the side three times — including in the bottom of the seventh.
Dziadula had two of UCO’s seven hits.