Cozad’s Seventh-Inning Blast Sends Taylor Past No. 6 Lindsey Wilson
COLUMBIA, Ky. – After trailing 2-0 for five innings, the Taylor softball team plated three runs in the final two frames to knock off No. 6 Lindsey Wilson, 3-2, in the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round on Tuesday afternoon.
Taylor trailed, 2-0, entering the sixth inning, but two-out singles by Hannah Castor and Davis Carter gave the Trojans runners on first and second with Courtney Moriarty at the plate. Moriarty delivered a two-run double, tying the score at 2-2.
Lindsey Wilson threatened in the bottom-half of the sixth with two singles, putting runners on first and third with one out, but Robbins retired the next two hitters to keep the game deadlocked at two runs apiece.
In the seventh, TU sent Erin Cozad to the plate with one out and the freshman deposited the 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall to give the Trojans the 3-2 lead going into the final half-inning.
After a lead-off single and a sacrifice bunt, Lindsey Wilson had the tying run on second with one out. The next Blue Raider popped out to Robbins for the second out of the inning, but the following batter reached base on a walk to put the winning run on base. Robbins then closed the door by forcing the next Blue Raider into a groundout.
Robbins (18-5) pitched six shutout innings in relief from the circle to earn her 18th win on the year, tying her own program record for most wins in a single season by a pitcher, which she set in 2014 as a freshman.
With the program’s second-ever win in the NAIA National Tournament, the Trojans moved on to face Madonna, with the winner securing a spot in the championship game of the Lindsey Wilson Bracket.
Taylor put its first two batters of the game on base in the bottom of the first, as Alex Lovelace reached base on an error and Anna Gunderson registered a bunt single to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Three consecutive outs followed, ending the early scoring opportunity.
Madonna scored its first run in the second inning, as a single and a groundout put a runner on second with two outs and another single brought the runner home from second.
TU opened its half of the second frame with a double by Moriarty, but a strikeout and two fly-outs stranded Moriarty at second base.
The Trojans could only get one more baserunner to second base the rest of the game, and MU’s 10 hits and eight runs over the final three stanzas made the 9-0 final score, eliminating Taylor from the NAIA National Tournament and ending its season.
Taylor closes out its season with a record of 39-16, marking the end of the careers of eight Trojans: Robbins, Lovelace, Briley Spencer, Lauren Ehle, Morgan Allison, Jessie Britt, Gunderson and Maddie Cornell.
The eight-member class essentially rewrote the TU softball record books, as the group became the winningest class in program history with 144 wins, compiled the highest single-season win total (42 in 2014) in program history, qualified for the first two NAIA National Tournament appearances in program history (2014, 2017), notched the first two wins at the NAIA National Tournament in program history and set numerous individual and team records.