Arlington Baptist 9, Southern 8
BATON ROUGE, LA – Arlington Baptist pulled off one of the biggest upsets in school history on Friday night, upsetting NCAA Division 1 Southern University 9-8 in the Mardi Gras Classic Invitational.
The victory over Southern is only the second ever win over an NCAA Division 1 opponent in any sport for Arlington Baptist, a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). The Patriots are only in year two of softball, fresh off a regional championship and College World Series appearance in its inaugural season.
“I told the girls before the game that they belong at this [NCAA D1] level. I told them that they are worthy of not just playing at this level, but competing and winning at this level, too. We showed that tonight,” said Patriots head coach Davis Beaver.
Southern would strike first in the bottom of the second inning behind a solo home run by Jaeslyn Frazier to give the Lady Jaguars the 1-0 advantage.
ABU answered back with four runs of its own in the top of the third. Greer West led off the inning with a walk. After Jessa McDonald would reach on an error, Amber Aguilar gave the Patriots the lead with a mammoth 3-run home run to left. Briana Perez and Zoey Bredleau would follow with singles and Perez would score on a passed ball to give ABU a 4-1 lead.
Southern would strike back in the bottom of the inning. After a one out double, the Lady Jaguars would cut into the lead on a RBI single by Alana Mark to make it 4-2 ABU.
Southern would regain the lead in the fourth with three singles after an ABU error to take a 6-4 advantage, and the Lady Jaguars would push their lead to 7-4 in the fifth on an RBI ground out by Keira Miracle-Tedford.
However, Patriot Magic would strike in the top of the sixth inning, all with two outs. McDonald reached on another error, Aguilar walked, and Perez beat out an infield single. After Bredleau was hit by a pitch to score one run and cut the Jags lead to 7-5, Brianna Escalante cleared the bases with a RBI double to centerfield, giving ABU an 8-7 lead. Kierra Mendoza would pinch run for Escalante, and after a ground out, scored on a stolen base by Payton Leonard, giving the Patriots a 9-7 advantage.
Southern would plate one more run in the bottom of the sixth behind an error and two singles, cutting the ABU lead to 9-8.
The Patriots clinched the victory in the bottom of the 7th as Southern mixed in a single behind a ground out and strikeout, and a fielder’s choice gave ABU the win.
Aguilar was 1 for 2 with a home run, two walks, and 3 RBIs, while Escalante went 1 for 4 with 3 RBIs.
Kyndal Murphy started the game for the Patriots and was solid in the circle, allowing 3 ER in 3.1 innings. Kyleigh Sullivan got the win, allowing 0 ER in 3.2 innings, while striking out two.
“Southern played Illinois, Louisville, St. John’s, and Southern Miss, among others, before us. They’re battle tested. For us to come out and play like we did, and claw and fight to beat that team shows a ton of heart and guts. It bodes well for us moving forward. This is huge for our girls and for our program,” added Beaver.