The University of Sciences and Arts (Oklahoma) Drovers softball team lost to the Houston-Victoria Jaguars 1-0 Tuesday, ending a 23-game winning streak even as the Jaguars won their 22nd straight.
The Drovers are the defending national champions in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“I’m just thrilled. I’m so proud of our team, they were so tough,” Jaguars head coach Lindsey Ortiz said. “I think they came into this week with the right mindset: ‘Respect everybody but fear nobody,’ and I just couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Tuesday’s win was a pitching dual between Drovers sophomore Emily Cerny and Jaguars senior Peyton Branham. Cerny had four strikeouts, allowing one run and two walks with just two hits.
While Cerny was good, Branham was even better. She finished allowing three hits, but walked just one and struck out seven.
“(Cerny is) a great pitcher, I mean she’s the cream of the crop in NAIA,” Ortiz said. “My senior just stepped up. To shut them out, on this kind of stage, I don’t even even have the words for how proud of her I am right now.”
The game’s lone run came in the bottom of the first inning. After a flyout, Jaguar senior Gabby Davila walked. Next up was sophomore Ashley Reyna, who hit a blast into right field that narrowly landed near the Drovers’ fielder. Davila had a good jump on the play, and scored all the way from first.
Both teams made strong defensive plays throughout the game. Perhaps none was bigger than the catch the Jaguars’ left fielder made in the bottom of the seventh, catching a high drive by Drovers junior Tarah Madron that likely would have cleared the wall for a home run had the fielder not made the catch.
Opening-round action in Dodge City concludes Wednesday at Legends Park.