Cardinal gameday

It’s time to get down to business in Yuma, Arizona.

Gameday at the 2021 NJCAA DI Softball Championship Tournament has arrived for the Cardinals. They are scheduled to face Butler at 8 p.m. (Texas time) in the opening round of the 16-team event at the Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex.

The Cardinals bring a 33-13 record into the game and are the tournament’s No. 15 seed. Butler is 49-2 and the No. 2 seed.

The Cardinals own a 7-3 win against Butler earlier this season in a game played in San Antonio.

“Our kids fear no team,” said Cardinal co-head softball coach Kathleen Rodriguez before leaving for the tournament. “They showed that over in Tyler (regional tournament) against Bossier (Parish) and have shown it all season.

“We’ve already seen Butler this season, so that’s an advantage.”

The Cardinals have won eight straight games, including going 4-0 in the Region XIV East Zone Tournament. Their 33 wins match the school record for wins in a season set by the 2013 team, which also qualified for the national tournament.

Butler has won 45 straight games.

In their win against Butler, the Cardinals scored three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to put the game away. The Cardinals had 12 hits, including three home runs. Sara Mayes had one of the round-trippers and finished with three RBI.

Jalissa Alicea went the distance in the circle for the Cardinals. She struck out six and scattered four hits.

In 51 games, Butler is hitting .442 and has scored 607 runs. Thirty-five of the Grizzlies’ 49 wins ended early via the run rule.

Butler has five players with double-digit home runs, led by Hannah Knox with 15.

The TVCC-Butler winner advances to face the Yavapai-Three Rivers winner at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The losers of the two games square off at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

All national tournament games are available online at https://www.njcaa.org/network

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