Skinner's one-hitter leads Yotes over St. Gregory's University

IRVINE, Calif. - Nickayla Skinner tossed a one-hit shutout, leading The College of Idaho to a 2-0 victory over St. Gregory's University in Game 1 of the Irvine Bracket of the NAIA Softball National Championships Opening Round at the Concordia University Softball Field.

The Lady Yotes (35-21), who won their tenth game in a row, will face the winner of tonight's Concordia-Bethany contest at 10:30 a.m. (PT) tomorrow morning for a spot in the bracket championship.

Skinner was dominant, allowing just two base-runners and struck out seven in the victory - with the No. 16 ranked Cavaliers (34-16) failing to advance a runner into scoring position. The right-hander hit Whitney Anderson leading off the second - but she was picked off of first to end the inning. After retiring 14 batters in a row, Skinner allowed Melanie Gladden hit a seeing-eye single with one out in the seventh to break up the no-hitter, but set down the next two batters to log her tenth shutout of the season.

The Lady Yotes were limited to just three hits by SGU starter Devon Frazier, but had their chances - stranding a runner at second base in both the third and fifth innings. The C of I broke through in the sixth, as Ashley Van Horne reached on a two-out hit-by-pitch and Rachael Strong walked. Katie Rowe followed with a bloop single into right, scoring Van Horne with the go-ahead run, with Strong moving to third on the throw home. With Julia Henrie at the plate, Rowe and Strong executed a perfect double steal to make it 2-0.

"I am pleased by the way we played against a very good St. Gregory's team," said C of I head coach Al Mendiola. "Nickayla threw the ball extremely well and we played outstanding defense - especially late in the game. We got a clutch two-out hit and executed our plan on the base paths in the sixth inning. It was a great win all-around."

Strong reached base three times in the win with a pair of walks and a single, with Rowe and McKensie Stanton recording the other hits for the Yotes.