HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The William Woods University Lady Owls softball team couldn't maintain the momentum of an early edge.
No. 4 seed William Woods produced a run in the bottom of the first inning, but No. 1 Vanguard (Calif.) University took control from there to down the Lady Owls 6-1 on Monday in the opening round of the NAIA national championship.
William Woods (23-26) will now play an elimination game against No. 2 seed and host William Carey University (36-15) at 1 p.m. today. William Carey bowed to No. 3 seed College of Idaho 4-1 on Monday.
The Lady Owls got off to a promising start against Vanguard. Senior shortstop Ari Arnold doubled into shallow center with one out in the bottom of the first and promptly scored when senior center fielder Emma Walker followed with a triple to deep right-center.
Walker, though, was stranded at third after senior first baseman Alli Massey popped out to the infield and senior third baseman Emily Robinett grounded out to third to end the inning.
Unfortunately for William Woods, that would turn out to be its only run. Ninth-ranked Vanguard (44-11) tied the game with a run in the top of the second, went in front to stay with three runs in the third and added single runs in the sixth and seventh.
Walker went 2-for-3 and Arnold was 2-for-4 as the Lady Owls finished with seven hits but left seven runners on base. Massey and senior second baseman Dacrie Depping — a Fulton graduate — were both 1-for-3, while junior left fielder Anna Counts finished 1-for-4.
Junior starter Brittany Roady went five innings in suffering the loss for William Woods. Roady (14-9) allowed four earned runs on eight hits, struck out one and walked one.
Junior pitcher Madison Ausfahl — a North Callaway graduate — threw the final two innings in relief. Ausfahl gave up two earned runs on five hits and also had one strikeout and one walk.