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Cal U softball crushes Winston-Salem in NCAA opener

| Saturday, May 10, 2014, 12:32 a.m.

After being held scoreless through the opening three innings, top-seeded California University tallied nine runs over the next three to claim a 9-0 run-rule victory Friday against eighth-seeded Winston-Salem State at Lilley Field in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Vulcans (36-5) will face West Chester at 10:30 a.m. today.

After the Rams (28-12) stranded a pair of base runners in the fourth, the Vulcans took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning on a two-run homer by third baseman Natalya Smarra, her fifth of the season. Winston-Salem State again had two runners on in the fifth before Cal U stretched the lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the inning. Natalie Wideman started the inning with a double and scored on a passed ball before Breanna Morris' RBI single.

The Vulcans loaded the bases with no outs before the Rams recorded outs on a fielder's choice at home and strikeout. Erica Vallecorsa delivered a two-out, two-run single to left field.

Shelby Lia clinched the run-rule victory in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run homer, her ninth of the year and 36th of her career.

Morris went 3-for-4 with one RBI, one run scored and one stolen base in the victory. Designated player Stephani Ellis, Lia and Wideman each collected two hits and scored two runs with Lia also adding two RBI. Vallecorsa tallied a pair of hits and RBI while hitting eighth.

Sophomore Alex Sagl tossed her sixth complete game shutout of the season to improve to 24-3 this year. She scattered seven hits and issued three walks over 6 innings (107 pitches), while posting seven strikeouts.

WSSU left 10 runners left on base, including five in scoring position, while never advancing a runner to third base.

Westr Chester advanced with a 1-0 victory against fifth-seeded Bloomsburg, scoring the game's lone run on a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh.

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