COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Vanguard Lions (46-15) finished out the NAIA Opening Round with their second loss today against Avila University (37-23). The two school competed for a spot in the semi-finals and the Lion's were unable to push past Avila's defense. The final score of the game was 5-3, Avila University.
The Lions had a similar game as they did previously, playing well defensively and struggling at the plate. The Pride had eight hits again, but this time were able to make three of those hits turn into runs. Unfortunately, Avila had a more successful game with five of their nine hits turning into runs. The Lions saw trouble early. Avila posted up four runs before Vanguard could even get onto the board. It wasn't until the top of the fifth that Vanguard was able to push through. Kaitlin Estes started off the fifth inning with a double to right field, and Samantha Shaffer followed it up with an RBI double to left field. Emily Howard then came in with runners on the corners and drove in Ariana Huffman on a single to right field. Taylor Wilson brought in the last run of the inning with a single to left field that brought in Sacia-Nate Flowers.
That would be the only runs posted for the Lions. Avila ended up adding one more to their lead and the final score read 5-3 in Avila's favor. Courtney Thornhill (16-6) pitched 2.1 innings for the Lions, giving up 6 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, and taking 2 strikeouts before Kolbi Tonini took over. Tonini finished out 3.2 innings and gave up 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and earned 2 strikeouts. At the plate, Shaffer and Morgan Pilbin led, each going 2-4.