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Raiders edged by Knights, fall into losers' bracket

Marian took advantage of two walks and a clutch hit to score two insurance runs in the sixth inning that proved to be the difference as the 17th-ranked Knights held on for a 6-4 victory over 21st-ranked Southern Oregon in the first game of the Lindsey Wilson NAIA softball opening round bracket Monday at Lindsey Wilson Park in Columbia, Kentucky.

Down 4-0 through three innings, Southern Oregon rallied behind a two-run triple by Aaliyah Oliver followed by an RBI single by Kelsey Randall to cut the deficit to 4-3, but Marian ace Breena Smith snuffed out SOU's last-gasp rally in the seventh by getting Tyler Burke, who represented the tying run, to ground out with a runner at third.

The loss dropped the Raiders (36-17) into the losers' bracket of the four-team tournament. They'll face unranked Ashford in an elimination game today at 2 p.m.

Marian (45-9) will face sixth-ranked Lindsey Wilson.

Smith, who had give up more than two runs only twice in 27 starts before Monday, improved to 25-4 after holding the Raiders to four runs on seven hits in a complete-game effort. She struck out four and walked two, throwing 132 pitches.

Southern Oregon starter Sydney White (14-10) took the loss after surrendering six runs, four earned, in five innings. She had two strikeouts and three walks.

Back to back run-scoring singles by Vanessa Lay and Hannah Williams gave Marian a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second minutes after Smith fanned Oliver with the bases loaded in the top of the inning to preserve the scoreless tie.

Sam Pash's two-run single extended the Knight's lead to 4-0 in the third.

Megan Winton and Oliver had two hits apiece to lead the Raiders at the plate. Oliver also scored twice.

Pash and Carly Greene each had two hits to lead Marian's lineup, as Greene hammered two doubles.