ORMOND BEACH, FLA. - No. 3 Delaware State (DSU) held off No. 2 Howard (HU), 2-1, in the MEAC Softball Championship semifinal Friday afternoon at Ormond Sports Complex in Ormond Beach, Fla.
The Hornets (28-23) advance to the championship final with the win. Howard (23-16), the defending conference champion, falls to the loser's bracket and faces off with Norfolk State/Bethune Cookman in a 5:30 p.m. elimination matchup Friday evening. The winner of that contest will move on to the championship final versus Delaware State on Saturday.
Brittney Ruark earned the win for DSU, striking out four and allowing four hits in seven innings of work. Ruark pushed her season record to 14-10. Senior Dale McNeal suffered the loss, allowing five hits with four strike outs for a 2.57 ERA.
Senior Brianne Gutierrez went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Bison. Juniors Kristina Cordova and Jennifer Bien-Amie chipped in one hit each for Howard. Five different Hornets picked up one hit apiece for DSU with Nicole Demers guiding the Delaware State offense, going 1-for-3 with one run and one RBI.
Courtney Taylor sparked the Hornets' decisive third inning, hitting a center field single. Demers scored Taylor for the game's first run with a double to the left side. Sha Tabor put DSU ahead for good with a right side single that sent Demers across the plate.
Howard answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth inning, as freshman Jessica Norwood's sacrifice fly to center field scored sophomore centerfielder Courtney Young.