ALEXANDRIA, La. — Brenau University pitcher Kathleen Elizabeth Daniel set the all-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics record for strikeouts in a single season at 552 on Monday, as she led the Golden Tigers to a 5-0 defeat of Edward Waters College in the first round of the NAIA softball World Series in Alexandria, La.
A freshman from Locust Grove, Daniel recorded 13 strikeouts while allowing just one hit and one walk against the 15 batters she faced over five innings. She started the game with 539 strikeouts, just one shy of tying the single-season record of 540 set by Oklahoma City University’s Lily LaVelle in 2012.
Golden Tigers sophomore Jessica Rathje pitched two shutout innings in relief, racking up two strikeouts of her own and allowing just one base runner.
Brenau President Ed Schrader congratulated the entire Golden Tigers’ squad on its record-breaking season that included being the first team ever to go undefeated in both Southern States Athletic Conference regular season play and the post-season SSAC tournament. He also congratulated Daniel for her outstanding season.
“ 'Eli' is a tremendous young woman, an excellent member of the college community and a great representative of Brenau University – not to mention that she is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete,” Schrader said.
The Brenau team, No. 1 seed in this portion of the tournament, now faces host LSU Alexandria, the No. 2 seed, at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Brenau is ranked No. 2 in the nation with a 52-5 record overall, 26-0 in regular season conference play.
No. 12 LSU Alexandria (26-1, 46-8), the Red River Athletic Conference champ, Monday posted a win over third-seeded No. 25 Science & Arts (21-7, 38-16), the runner-up in the Sooner Athletic Conference from Chickasha, Okla.
In the opening game on Monday the Golden Tigers started the scoring in the top of the second as junior Savannah Moore was hit by a pitch and then advanced to third on freshman Shelton Kendrix's double to deep right field. Junior Courtney Kenney then hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field to score Moore.
The offense swung into action again in the top of the fifth as freshman Tabitha Morrison doubled to left-center to start the inning. Sophomore Lexi Cash then singled to advance Morrison to third. After Cash stole second, senior Mackenzie Oliver Mullis reached first on a fielder's choice that scored Morrison to increase the score to 2-0. Oliver Mullis advanced to third, then scored on an Edward Waters error to increase the lead to 3-0.
In the top of the sixth inning, Kendrix led off with a single and advanced to third after a Mason Garland sacrifice. Kenney singled up the middle to score Kendrix for a 4-0 lead and went to third after another Edward Waters error. Pinch runner Sarah Peery scored the Golden Tigers' fifth run on a Jennifer Gering's passed ball to close out the game.