Hayden Roberts hit a solo home run in the 7th to put Avila on top.
Overland Park, KS - Tori Aziere shut down the Culver-Stockton Wildcats in the circle while Hayden Roberts hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh to help the Eagles to an opening round victory on Thursday in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament.
(5) Avila 3 vs (4) Culver-Stockton 0 (Box Score)
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Roberts smashed a 2-1 offering over the left field fence to break a scoreless tie in the seventh inning, and then the Eagles tacked on two more runs to build a 3-0 lead.
Aziere, who tossed her second shutout in as many starts, closed out the seventh inning unscathed to help the Eagles to their fifth consecutive Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament victory dating back to last season.
Aziere pitched in and out of trouble all afternoon, walking four, but was able to get key outs when she needed them. Aziere stranded all ten base runners in Thursday's victory, a season-high for the junior.
The first six innings were very similar to the first matchup between Aziere and Culver-Stockton's Sam Bolin, but this time the results were different. In their first meeting, the Wildcats scratched across a run in the bottom of the sixth inning of a scoreless game to steal a 1-0 victory, but this time Aziere was having none of it, getting the Wildcats in order in the sixth.
The Wildcats had multiple scoring chances in the game, leaving the bases loaded in both the first and fifth innings, and leaving two on in the second.
Bolin did not allow the Eagles as many opportunities, and was bailed out by her defense in the top of the fourth inning when sophomore Abby King doubled to the right-center gap, but was thrown out on a close play at third for the first out.
The Eagles finally broke through in the top of the seventh, getting a towering home run from Roberts to lead off the inning. Madison Price followed with a double, and then moved to third when Kaycee Dexter flew out to deep center for the first out. Madison Mueth made it 2-0 in favor of the Eagles with a double to right, and then the Eagles added a third run on an error by Culver-Stockton shortstop Kim Myers to make it 3-0.
Culver-Stockton got the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning, but Aziere got Cassie Burris to fly out to deep short to end the threat and the game.
Avila will now face No. 1 seed Central Methodist in the second round of the Heart Tournament on Friday morning at 11 a.m. Central Methodist swept the Eagles back on April 16, 8-4 and 7-5, though the Eagles have had success against CMU, defeating them in a thrilling 8-inning Heart Championship game last season at this same tournament.
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