NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Sarah Evans slugged her fifth home run of the season as the Bryant Lady Hornets opened the 2016 Tournament of Champions at Burns Park with a 4-1 win over the defending Class 6A State champion Greenwood Lady Bulldogs Friday night.
It was the first loss of the season for Greenwood, which came in 6-0 overall. The Lady Hornets’ four runs are the first the Lady Bulldogs have allowed all season.
Bryant, now 7-2, is set to play Rogers (6-1) in the tourney semifinals today at 1:45 p.m. The Lady Mountaineers who won the 7A-West Conference title last year, needed some late-game heroics to rally past a Bauxite team that was making a bid at an upset.
The Lady Hornets shut out Greenwood until the Lady Bulldogs eked out a run in the bottom of the seventh. The game was scoreless until Bryant pushed two runs across the plate in the top of the fourth. A two-run sixth made it 4-0.
Raven Loveless went the distance pitching for the Lady Hornets, fanned nine and walked just one. She surrendered just two hits. The lone run was unearned. The bottom of the seventh included the walk, one of the hits (a single) and an error that allowed the run but Loveless ended the game with two strikeouts, stranding runners at second and third.
Bryant broke Greenwood’s scoreless streak when, in the fourth, Shayla McKissock walked and Regan Ryan chased her home with a triple on a liner to left. Evans got a bunt down to bring Ryan home and reached safely on a Greenwood miscue.
But Victoria Taylor, who wound up striking out 15 in the game, fanned two and induced a foul out to keep it 2-0.
Loveless had a no-hitter going until the bottom of the fourth when Sydney Parker grounded a single into right.
In the top of the fifth, Taylor pitched around a lead-off single by Julie Ward, striking out the side. But, in turn, Loveless worked around a one-out error to keep it 2-0.
In the top of the sixth, Ryan singled then, on a full count, Evans slugged her round-tripper over the fence in left to make it 4-0.