Luck (30-2), a former Creekview High School standout, allowed four runs on seven hits, but she struck out five. She has won all three games for the Lady Eagles in the AAC tournament and is slated to take the circle when Reinhardt faces either St. Andrews, Milligan or Bryan for the conference title at 1 p.m. today.
Luck had to work out of a pair of jams early, including once with the bases loaded in the first inning, and she saw her streak of 26 2/3 scoreless innings come to an end. Still, Reinhardt (40-8) couldn’t have asked for more from its young ace.
The Lady Eagles, however, needed more than just the skillful arm of Luck, and they got it from C.J. Browder’s two home runs.
Browder’s first homer, which came in the second inning, was a solo shot to center field that put Reinhardt up 1-0.
The Lady Eagles added to the lead in the third inning. After a two-out single by Randi Wimpy scored Tyler Sampson, Browder connected on the next pitch to clear the bases for the 4-0 lead.
Reinhardt added some insurance in the fifth.
With Browder on first and Katie Rietkovich on second, Kaley Garmon singled through the left side of the infield. Rietkovich scored easily on the play, but an error on the throw from the outfield allowed Browder to score for the 6-0 lead.
St. Andrews got on the board with a solo homer in the sixth inning, then added three more runs in the seventh. The Knights were threatening to add more before Rietkovich made a game-changing play by collecting a ground ball and stepping on second to force the final out of the game.
Whichever team advances to face Reinhardt, it will have to win two games. Because the Lady Eagles defeated each of the other teams on the way to the tournament finals, they would need to lose twice in order to be denied the title in the double-elimination event.
Reinhardt previously claimed the AAC regular-season championship, and an automatic bid to the NAIA regional that came with it. The Lady Eagles will host that regional.