Blossoms move into winner’s bracket

BENTONVILLE – Arkansas-Monticello advanced into the winner’s bracket of the Great American Conference softball tournament and remained undefeated all-time in the event with a 5-3 victory over Southern Arkansas on Thursday evening at the Tiger Athletic Complex.

UAM was set to face off against nationally-ranked No. 3 and top-seeded Southeastern Oklahoma State later Thursday night. The winner will play at 3 p.m. today against the East Central-Henderson State victor in the winner’s bracket final, while the loser will take on Ouachita Baptist at 11 a.m. today.

UAM (29-23) started Thursday’s game with a four-run rally in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI triple from junior Beth Johnson and a three-run double from freshman Kali Piha.

The Lady Muleriders (27-28) reached the scoreboard with two runs in the top of the fourth on an RBI single from Kelsie Garza and an RBI grounder from Darian Harris.

UAM took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth on a leadoff home run from senior Randa Perry. SAU finalized the scoring with one run in the top of the fifth on a single from Mackenzie Spanko.

Sophomore Katie Slaughter (14-10) earned the complete-game win after allowing three runs (two earned) off seven hits with five strikeouts and just one walk in seven innings of work. Hannah Gill (18-14) suffered the loss in complete-game fashion, allowing five runs off seven hits with five strikeouts and three walks.