Jaguars rally in seventh to stay alive in World Series

Kristoff went the distance in the circle giving up two runs on six hits

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Down to their final three outs, the University of Houston-Victoria Jaguars softball team rallied behind a pair of runs to stay alive in the NAIA Softball World Series with a 3-2 win over the Olivet Nazarene Tigers.

The Jaguars (23-22) advance to face the Southern Oregon-Bethany loser in another elimination game on Saturday at noon. Olivet Nazarene ends its season with a 34-8 record.

The contest underwent an hour and a half rain delay after the first batter, UHV’s Jackie Longoria, drew a leadoff walk. The layoff didn’t appear to bother either team.

The Jaguars, who went down 2-1 in the third, finally found their bats in the seventh after Kaylle Acosta opened the seventh with a double to left center. Kelsey Tidrick then followed with a slap single up the middle that scored pinch-runner Michaela Fernandez to tie the game at 2-2.

Carmen Steen came in to pinch run for Tidrick who reached third on the play at the plate and Marisa Mendoza singled her home with one out for what proved to be the winning run. Ashley Reyna followed with a double, but the Tigers escaped further damage when Mendoza was thrown out at the plate on a grounder by Alexis Gonzalez and Lauren Caka struck out to end the inning.

UHV pitcher Michelle Kristoff then got two outs on a ground out and pop out back to the mound to start the bottom of the seventh. After giving up a walk, Kristoff got the final batter to fly out to Mendoza in center to end the game and complete the complete game performance in the circle.

Coming out to the rain delay, the Jaguars grabbed the first lead as Mendoza sacrificed Longoria to second and Longoria took third on a passed ball, before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Reyna.

The tigers tied the game in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back singles before taking the lead in the third when Miranda Southall triple to right and trotted home on an overthrow.

The Jaguars out hit the Tigers 9-6 as Reyna, Acosta and Tidrick each had two hits, with Longoria, Mendoza and Gonzalez each adding one.

Kristoff went the distance in the circle giving up two runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out one to improve to 10-10 on the year.