ST. GEORGE, UTAH – With the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth inning and the game even at one, right fielder Breeya Howells calmly stepped to the plate and sent the ball over the left centerfield wall to give the Lady Matadors a 5-1 walk-off win against #16 Spartanburg Methodist.
With the win, the Lady Matadors improve to 49-7 overall and continue on in the winners bracket to face #8 Central Florida at 5pm local time on Thursday. With the loss, Spartanburg Methodist falls to 36-13 and drops to the consolation bracket, where the will face Lake Land (IL) on Thursday afternoon.
It was a pitcher’s duel on Wednesday afternoon between Pioneers starter Carson O’Donald and Lady Matadors starter Hayley Miller.
In the end, Miller (21-4) came out victorious thanks to same late offense by her squad. Miller got into trouble early, surrendering a walk or hitting a batter in each inning until the top of the seventh. Hayley Miller’s final line was nine innings and she allowed a run on six hits, with seven strikeouts and eight walks. Miller got out of bases loaded jams in the first, fifth, sixth, and ninth innings.
“Hayley threw really well for all nine innings today,” said AWC head coach Nikki Bethurum. “She got strikeouts when really needed her to and she got us out of numerous jams.”
Spartanburg Methodist starter Carson O’Donald went eight plus innings that saw her allow five runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
The Pioneers struck first offensively with a run in the top of the ninth inning on a RBI single Kolby Harrison that sailed over the head of Lady Matador shortstop Baylee Boren. Hayley Miller then got out of the bases loaded jam to try and give her team a chance to win.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Lady Mats tied the game at one on a fielder’s choice by Nikki Kelland scoring April Marquez. The throw came home but was offline, allowing Marquez to score safely. With two runners already on base, the Pioneers elected to walk Summer Ehrig to load the bases with nobody out; sending Breeya Howells to the plate. Howells then hit a grand slam to end the ballgame and advance AWC on through the winners bracket.
Next up for the Arizona Western College Lady Matadors is a meeting with Central Florida on Thursday at 5pm local time, 4pm back in Yuma. The game will air live on the Matador Sports Network, with our pre-game coverage beginning five minutes prior to first pitch. If the Lady Matadors win, they are off until Friday; however if they lose then they will play another game immediately following the Central Florida contest.