OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Kelsie Bridgeford hit a two-run homer and Shelby Kindelin drove in the winning run and got the victory in the circle as the Bellevue University softball team recorded a 3-2 win over No. 17-ranked Freed-Hardeman University in the first game of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round at Ann Lacy Field.
Bellevue (40-9) will now play at noon on Tuesday (May 14) against top-seeded Oklahoma City University. FHU will play Hastings at 3 p.m. tomorrow. OCU defeated the Broncos, 6-1, in the tournament's second game.
The Lions took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a two-run double by Amber Vansandt.
After Alyssa Matoba led off the sixth inning with a walk, Bridgeford tied the game with a two-run homer over the left-center field fence.
The Bruins scored the winning run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single to right-center field by Kindelin that scored Katie Tew.
FHU threatened in the bottom of the seventh with a single and an intentional walk, before Kindelin forced a pop up to Bridgeford at third base to end the game.
Kindelin (14-3) earned the win after replacing starter Amanda Neumann in the bottom of the third inning. She gave up just two hits and no runs with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of work.
Sarah Elizabeth Cousar suffered the loss, falling to 26-4 on the season after giving up three runs on four hits, with 11 strikeouts and three walks in seven innings in the circle.
Note: The Opening Round consists of 10 four-team double-elimination tournaments across the country with the 10 winners competing in the NAIA Softball National Championship final site on May 24-30 in Columbus, Ga. This is the first season the NAIA has used the Opening Round format for softball.