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Late Innings Run Falls Short For Nighthawks At Regional
Northwest Nazarene fell to No. 2 seeded Biola despite allowing just five hits to the Eagles. The Nighthawks will now face No. 1 seed Concordia Irvine in an elimination game. Photo by Cayden Jones.
Northwest Nazarene fell to No. 2 seeded Biola despite allowing just five hits to the Eagles. The Nighthawks will now face No. 1 seed Concordia Irvine in an elimination game. Photo by Cayden Jones.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

IRVINE, Calif. – A four-run hole proved too much for No. 3 seeded Northwest Nazarene as the Nighthawks fell to No. 2 seeded Biola, 4-3, Thursday in the NCAA Division II Softball West Regional at Eagles Field on the campus of Concordia Irvine.

The Nighthawks fell behind thanks to one run by the Eagles in the first and a four-run third inning. A three-run home run by senior Madison Felter put NNU back in business but they could not continue the rally in the seventh.

Northwest Nazarene was limited to five hits against Biola starting pitcher Paige Austin, led by Felter’s homer. Austin improved to 11-5 on the year by allowing the three runs with four walks and 11 strikeouts.

Freshman Sidney Booth fell to 16-4 with the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts. The Eagles also spread their five hits out through five different batters.

With the loss, Northwest Nazarene (31-13) will face tournament host and No. 1 seeded Concordia Irvine in an elimination game that will start around 6 p.m. (Pacific). Concordia Irvine was upset by No. 4 seeded Hawaii Hilo, 4-3, in Thursday’s first game. Biola (20-13) will play Hawaii Hilo on Friday at noon.

Biola struck first, scoring in the top of the first without the benefit of a hit. Ruth Munoz drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on an error and third on a ground out before Abie Nowak scored her on a fielder’s choice.

Booth retired the side in the second and got out of a jam in third before the Eagles cobbled together a three-run fourth to break the game open. Velasco led off with a single and scored two batters later on a single by Rilee Ruvalcaba. Beck followed with a single of her own before Jennifer Morinishi delivered on a single right that scored both runners to build the lead to 4-0.

The Nighthawks got on the scoreboard with a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Maia McNicoll drew a walk, junior Tori Hensley singled and Felter brought them both home with a three-run triple to left field.

The rally continued in the top of the seventh. Freshman Abigail Gagnon led off the frame with a double to left-center field. Junior Ivy Hommel moved her to third with a sacrifice bunt but was tagged out at home on freshman Emma Mulligan’s fielder’s choice hit to the middle of the infield. Booth had a chance to tie or give NNU the lead, but was coaxed into a fly-out to end the game.

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