Nighthawks Survive Elimination, Await Concordia Rematch
Clarissa Moreno (right) went 3 for 3 with an RBI double to lead NNU offensively in the win over Biola. Photo by Josh Burkholder.
Clarissa Moreno (right) went 3 for 3 with an RBI double to lead NNU offensively in the win over Biola. Photo by Josh Burkholder.

Friday, May 12, 2023

IRVINE, Calif. – Northwest Nazarene will live to see another day at the NCAA Division II Softball West Regional, splitting its games to secure a spot in Saturday’s final at Golden Eagles Field.

In the day’s opening game, the Nighthawks came back from a 3-0 deficit to challenge top-seeded Concordia in the seventh inning but could not complete the comeback in a 3-2 loss. The tables were turned in the elimination game later in the day with NNU scoring three runs in the fifth inning en route to a 3-2 win over Biola.

With the win, the Nighthawks (38-16) will face Concordia once again on Saturday beginning at noon. They will need to beat the Golden Eagles twice to advance to the West Super Regional next week.

Concordia used the home-field advantage to open scoring against Hensley in the top of the first. Megan Massa reached on a leadoff walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single to left by Jocelyn Pino.

The Golden Eagles added two runs with two outs in the third. Mary Baccay was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a single by Pino and scored on a single by Rylie Rohr. Missy Nemeth followed with a single through the right side. Scoring Pino from second.

Freshman Kellcie Adams opened the Northwest Nazarene third with a single and scored two batters later on a two-out single by Hensley. The Nighthawks pulled to within one run in the sixth inning when junior Abigail Gagnon reached on an error and eventually scored on a single by freshman Emma Bumatay.

The Nighthawks were in position to tie or win it in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, freshman Clarissa Moreno singled to right center field and advanced to second on a single by Hensley before Massa struck out McNicoll to end the game.

Hensley went the distance for the Nighthawks in the loss, falling to 15-6 on the season. She allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Hensley also went 3 for 4 with an RBI to lead NNU at the plate.

Kaitlin Entrup earned the win in the circle for Concordia, allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Pino led the Golden Eagles at the plate, going 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.

While Northwest Nazarene would go on to the victory, they would come from behind once again. Kaitlyn Hawkins and Alexis Lara opened the third inning with singles, both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt and pinch-runner Gonzales scored on a ground out.

The Nighthawks scored all the runs that they needed in the fifth inning. Freshman Jami Obringer drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on a double by Moreno. Senior Maia McNicoll was hit by a pitch to reach base with one out and junior Sidney Booth followed with a single up the middle that scored Moreno. McNicoll scored the third run of the frame on a sacrifice fly.

Biola threatened in the bottom of the seventh. Raylene Roybal was hit by a pitch with one out, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice and later scored on an error. Hensley came in to relieve Booth at that point and earned the save with just one batter, coaxing Allie Beck into a pop-out to end the game.

Booth improved to 20-8 on the season with the victory, allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work. Booth also went 2 for 3 at the plate with an RBI. Moreno led the Nighthawks offensively, going 3 for 3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.

Roybal took the loss in relief for Biola, allowing on unearned run on three hits with a strikeout in 2.2 innings of work.

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