COLLEGE SOFTBALL: RSU loses to Augustana in Game 1 of Super Regionals

May 14—For the first time this postseason, Rogers State softball finds itself in a precarious situation.

Despite hosting the Claremore Super Regional and having not given up a run in five-consecutive games at the Diamond Sports Complex, the Hillcats suffered an untimely 3-2 loss to Augustana (Sioux Falls, S.D.) in Game 1 of the best-of-three series Tuesday afternoon. It was their first time surrendering a run at home since a 5-3 victory over Nebraska Kearney on Friday, April 26.

RSU (46-11) must now defeat the Vikings twice Wednesday to advance to the NCAA Division II Women's College World Series for the second time in three seasons. The Hillcats won the national championship in their last appearance in 2022.

"We knew we were going to face a really tough Augustana team," RSU coach Andrea Vaughan said. "We knew they have a really good pitcher in the circle and that they are aggressive at the plate and they swing it well. You gotta play perfect softball, but we had an error and some plays that we probably should have made that would've changed the outcome of that game."

Despite the loss, RSU did close on somewhat of a positive note when it put together a sixth-inning rally to cut into a three-run deficit.

Paxton Donaldson opened the frame with a double to center field, and McKayla Carney scored her two pitches later with a double of her own to right field.

Abbey Rogers then brought Carney home when she grounded out to second base, trimming the deficit to 3-2 with one out. Kaylee Lyon and Callie Yelling followed by reaching base on an error and a fielder's choice, respectively, but the Hillcats couldn't take advantage, stranding two.

Harley Culie kept Augustana off the board in the top of the seventh, which featured Marissa Smith making a home-run saving catch out in left field, giving RSU one more chance to secure the win.

"I just continued to pump into them," Vaughan said. "Be gritty, don't get beat, let's adjust a little bit and let's get on top of the ball a little bit more and try to put the ball in play, and they did that. They put pressure on them."

Unfortunately for the Hillcats, Vikings pitcher Grace Glanzer had other plans.

Glanzer squashed RSU's walk-off hopes with a quickness, striking out Lana Gass before forcing a pair of groundouts to end the game. Glanzer earned the complete-game win, tossing six strikeouts while allowing five hits, two runs and no walks on 108 pitches.

"She's so good," Vaughan said. "She spins the ball so well, but for us to not give up and keep fighting says a lot about us and the character of this team and about our hitters. I feel like now that we've seen her, we'll be even more ready to go tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Sara Llamas-Howell took the loss for the Hillcats after 4.2 innings of action, allowing five hits and three runs while walking one and hitting another two batters. She did, however, manage six strikeouts. Culie threw 2.1 innings of relief, striking out one and walking one while surrendering no hits or runs.

Augustana (49-13) opened the scoring in the second when Nicole Bellis singled in Gracey Brink with a shot down the right-field line, and Ashton Dorman scored on the next at-bat after Stella Harber flew out to right field. Brink added to the advantage in the fourth, scoring on an error by the third baseman to make it a 3-0 spread.

"You gotta win two," Vaughan said. "You play best-of-three for a reason — you gotta win two. We're going to stay in a really good mindset and just try to play better softball tomorrow and make routine plays. We'll go with a different arm in Jade (Sanders), and like I said, we gotta win two."