FAYETTE, Mo. -- The Bellevue University softball team fell to the loser's bracket of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round, losing to the host school and No. 1-seed Central Methodist, 5-2, on Tuesday afternoon at Cox Sports Complex.
Bellevue (40-13-1) will now face the winner between Cardinal Stritch University and Columbia College at 5 p.m. tonight.
Central Methodist (43-8), ranked No. 8 nationally, advanced to the championship game of the tournament at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The Bruins got home runs from Shelby Kindelin and Ashley Gigax to pace the BU offense. Gigax finished 2-for-3 as BU collected six hits in the loss. Three different Eagles drove in runs for CMU and three collected two hits.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, scoring on a fielding error by third basemen Emily Gigax. A ground out RBI by Jessie Wilmes gave the Eagles a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the second.
Back-to-back solo homers over the right field fence by Kindelin and Ashley Gigax tied the contest at 2-2 in the top of the fourth.
Central Methodist quickly responded in the bottom half of the fourth, scoring on an RBI single by Lindie Adair and a sacrifice fly to right field by Hannah Blackmon to push the CMU lead back to two runs at 4-2.
The Bruins threatened in the top of the fifth, loading bases with no outs, but failed to score as Eagle reliever Jocie Glaze induced a forced out at home, a runner interference call and a strikeout to end the threat.
A sacrifice fly to right field by Bri Boatwright extended the Eagle lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth frame.
Haley Kinnison (21-4) got the win scattering three hits while striking out five and walking one in four innings of work. Glaze earned the save, allowing just two hits and no runs in three innings of relief.
Kelli Fisher suffered the loss, allowing eight hits with one strike out and no walks in four innings in the circle.