If the Lady Eagles (43-8) win, they will be one of 10 teams that will travel to Columbus for the final round of games beginning May 23. Should Reinhardt lose, it would immediately face Biola (35-13) again.
Hosting its NAIA regional at Ken White Field, Reinhardt beat Biola 10-5 on Tuesday.
Biola scored a run in the first inning — the first freshman Madison Luck had surrendered in the tournament. Reinhardt then tied the score at 1-all after the second inning when C.J. Browder belted a leadoff homer.
It was a pitchers’ duel through the third and fourth innings with Luck, a former standout at Creekview High School, retiring all the batters she faced. Biola starter CeCe Luster eventually gave way to Reba DePriest, and it didn’t take long for the Reinhardt batters to jump on her and the game to turn into a slugfest.
Reinhardt pounded DePriest for five runs in the fifth inning, with the only hit coming in the form off a three-run RBI double by Randi Wimpy.
Reinhardt took a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but the Lady Eagles gave most of it away. Biola tagged Luck for four runs in the inning, benefiting from a couple of errors, and trimming its deficit to 6-5 after five innings.
Reinhardt, however, put the game away with four runs in the sixth inning. Kendall Hahn singled and quickly came home on a two-run homer by Creekview product Alexis Chumbler. Two unearned runs followed as Reinhardt pushed its lead to 10-5.
Biola coach Lorie Coleman acknowledged the power in Reinhardt’s lineup.
“They are a power-hitting team,” Coleman said. “That is what they pride themselves on. Our girls never stopped fighting and showed great pride, even when things got away a little bit at the end of the contest.”
Luck pitched a complete game for her 33rd win of the season. She gave up five runs — three of which were earned — on 10 hits and struck out three.
Chumbler went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Wimpy was 2-for-4 with five RBIs and a run scored, while Hahn and Browder were both 2-for-4.
Biola earned the chance to play Reinhardt for a second time by defeating Taylor 4-1 in the late game Tuesday. Biola trailed by a run after the first inning, but it rallied with a pair of runs in both the second and fifth innings.
The regional opened Monday as Wimpy hit her NAIA-leading 21st home run of the season to get Reinhardt off to a good start in a 5-0 victory over Georgetown (Ky.).
Wimpy’s homer put Reinhardt up 1-0 in the first inning. While Georgetown left at least one runner in scoring position in three of the first four innings, Luck worked out of each jam without surrendering a run.
The Lady Eagles got all the insurance they would need with four runs in the fifth.
Chumbler blasted a ball into deep right field for a triple before Tyler Sampson drove her home. After a bunt single by Shelby Sinclair, Katie Rietkovich homered to left-center for the 5-0 lead.
Also on Monday, Biola defeated Taylor 4-0.
Biola scored three runs in the fourth inning on just one hit. It benefited from two walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch.
Luster and DePriest combined for the shutout.