Schmidt smashed the third pitch of the game for a two-run homer before hitting a three-run shot with two outs in the sixth inning to get the Dolphins (43-14) first NCAA Tournament berth.
“I’m so happy for our team,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak “They came to play today and secured our team goal we set at the beginning of the year. We tip our hats to Lipscomb and its staff because they were a tough team to beat. Overall, this is what we worked so hard for to get and I’m glad we finally achieved it. Now, we are excited to play in the NCAA Tournament.”
Junior Sarah Sigrest (26-5) earned her third win of the tournament after allowing one run on three hits and six strikeouts in seven innings.
Offensively, freshman Karson Tuck had a two-run double, while sophomore Olivia Kline added a team-high three hits.
Sigrest, Tuck and Schmidt each were named to the all-tournament team, while Sigrest earned the MVP honors.
The Lady Bisons (30-20) scored their lone run on a Courtney Billington homer in the seventh, while Whitney Kiihnl (20-11) took the loss in the circle after allowing four runs, two earned, on five hits in three innings.
Junior Kayla Ouellet led off the JU first inning with an infield single, while Schmidt smashed the first pitch she saw over the left field fence to give the Dolphins a 2-0 lead.
With two outs in the third inning, sophomore Sarah Simon reached first on an error by Lipscomb. Kline followed with a single to right field and Tuck cleared the bases with a double to left center field to extend JU’s lead to 4-0.
Sigrest allowed lead off singles to start the second and fourth innings, but left the runner stranded each time by getting three quick outs.
Senior Katie Kelly and freshman Meagan Balding drew consecutive walks to start the fourth inning for JU. Ali Watson came in relief and allowed a sacrifice bunt by junior Melissa Morales. Watson issued a two-out walk to Schmidt to load the bases, but got Simon to ground into a force out to quash the threat.
The Dolphins added some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on a three-run homer to center from Schmidt, while Sigrest retired 10 of the 11 final batters she faced to secure the win.
UPDATE: The Dolphins will host an NCAA Tournament selection show party tomorrow at Sneakers Bar & Grill at Baymeadows/9A in Jacksonville starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Dolphins will meet for dinner before learning where they are heading in the NCAA regionals on ESPNU’s selection show at 10 p.m.