OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Bellevue University softball team scored three runs in the fifth and added another five in the sixth inning to post a 9-2 win over 17th-ranked Freed-Hardeman University Tuesday night in the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round at Ann Lacy Stadium.
Bellevue (41-10) will play fourth-ranked Oklahoma City University (49-12) in the championship game tomorrow (May 15) at noon. The Bruins will need to defeat OCU twice to advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship final site on May 24-30 in Columbus, Ga.
Freed-Hardeman ended its season with an overall record of 32-9.
The Lions struck first with a two-out RBI single by Amber Vansandt in the top of the first inning.
FHU regained the lead in the fourth on Bailey Morgan's solo home run to center field off BU starter Taylor Mohler.
The Bruins once again responded with a two-out hit. After Katie Tew singled and Alyssa Matoba walked, Amanda Neumann blasted her team-leading 17th home run of the season to give BU its first lead of the game, 4-2, in the fifth.
BU scored five runs on three hits and took advange of a FHU throwing error to take a 9-2 edge after six complete innings. Tew and Kelsie Bridgeford each registered two-run singles in the frame.
Shelby Kindelin earned the win in relief, improving to 15-4 on the season while Neumann notched her first save of the year.
Sarah Elizabeth Cousar (27-5) suffered the loss for the Lions, allowing nine runs on seven hits.
Note: The Opening Round consists of 10 four-team double-elimination tournaments across the country with the 10 winners competing in the NAIA Softball National Championship final site on May 24-30 in Columbus, Ga. This is the first season the NAIA has used the Opening Round format for softball.