Nighthawks' Season Ends With Loss To UC San Diego
Northwest Nazarene's first GNAC championship season ends with a 31-23 record. Photo by Matt Bates/Chico State Univ.
Northwest Nazarene's first GNAC championship season ends with a 31-23 record. Photo by Matt Bates/Chico State Univ.

Friday, May 11, 2018
by Northwest Nazarene Athletic Communications

CHICO, Calif. – The dream season is over.

Northwest Nazarene's run to the NCAA Division II Softball Championship ended with a 7-3 loss to UC San Diego in an elimination game Friday at Chico State University in California.

The Nighthawks (31-23) jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Anna Williams in the bottom of the first and Rylee Thomas threw three shutout innings to keep the narrow lead intact.

Rae Young then came on in relief, pitching a scoreless fourth but things went south in the fifth.

Kendall Baker reached on an error by Young and stole second. After a sacrifice bunt moved Baker to third, Sherriah Harrington hit an RBI double to left to tie the game. She then stole third and scored on a throwing error by catcher Lisa Sylvester for a 2-1 lead.

UC San Diego then hit three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. Sharona Mataele then walked to make it 3-1. Thomas came back into the game, giving up a run-scoring single before inducing a popup and then another single and a walk to make it 6-1.

Jordan Adams then came in and got out of the inning, but the damage was done.

The Nighthawks had a shot at rallying in the bottom of the fifth, as Ivy Hommel led off with a walk and with two outs stole second. She scored on a single by Kylie Orr to make it 6-2.

Brittany Genuardi and Sylvester then walked to load the bases, but Shelbie Martinez struck out to end the threat.

UC San Diego tacked on another run in the sixth on a solo home run off of Adams.

NNU put together another rally in the seventh inning as Orr hit a one-out single and moved to second when Genuardi was hit by a pitch. Martinez then hit a two-out single to make it 7-3, but Abigail Otto struck out to end the game.

The loss ends the best season in program history as NNU set records for wins, conference wins, won its first regular-season championship, won its first conference tournament championship and reached the NCAA Division II national tournament for the first time.

Orr finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Williams, Sylvester, Martinez and Anna Olson all added hits as well.