BENTONVILLE, ARK. - The 2016 East Central University softball season came to an end at the Great American Conference Championship Tournament, with a 2-3 nine-inning loss to No. 8 Arkansas Tech at Tiger Athletic Complex.
The Tigers (25-31) were pace by senior Taylor Davis, with two hits, while seniors Jordynn VanPelt and Lacey Paulk earned a hit and an RBI.
Junior Sydney Dow started the game, throwing eight innings and striking out nine batters. While senior Marissa Shaffer threw to the final few batters of the game, Dow suffered the loss and was charged with all three runs.
The Tigers were the first to open the scoring, but not until the top of the fourth inning. After the first out, Paulk hit a single just inside the left field line. Senior Lauren Reeves followed with a double to deep right center, which allowed Paulk to score.
The Golden Suns (46-8) added a run in the bottom of the fourth, just before a 16-minute rain delay.
The teams then buckled down to hold off any more runs during the regulation seven innings, despite both teams advancing runners to third in the fifth inning. ECU continued to keep the pressure up getting runners on in the sixth and loading the bases in the seventh, but they were unable to get a run across the plate.
The Tigers broke the stalemate in the top of the ninth to take a 2-1 lead. Freshman Madison Thompson drew a pinch-hit walk to start the inning and was replaced on the base path by freshman Ellanee Allison. Taylor Davis singled to short, but was sent back to the dugout when senior Autumn Suydam hit into a fielder's choice.
VanPelt then sent a sacrifice fly down the right field line that was caught in foul territory, but that allowed Allison to tag up and score.
However, ATU had a strong bottom of the ninth and were able to score two runs on four hits to claim the 2-3 victory.