Both faltered Tuesday as the Lady Eagles lost 2-0 to Auburn Montgomery at the NAIA World Series in Columbus.
Reinhardt (46-9) was one of the only unbeaten teams remaining in the tournament, and it still has a shot at the national title despite the loss. However, the road to a potential championship will be a bit longer.
The Lady Eagles will play tonight at 7 p.m. against the winner an earlier game between Oklahoma City — which Reinhardt beat Monday — and William Carey (Miss.).
The winner of that game will then advance to play Auburn Montgomery at 5 p.m. Thursday. A winner-take-all game would then follow if Auburn Montgomery loses.
Luck was the first Reinhardt element to falter Tuesday. The former Creekview High School standout recorded her 36 win of the season Monday night, but a day later, she lasted fewer than three innings.
The trouble came in the third inning. With one out, Auburn Montgomery’s Katie Spain reached base and advanced to second on a wild throw by Reinhardt shortstop C.J. Browder. Lauren Shaw then followed with a two-run homer over the fence in left field.
Luck then loaded the bases by giving up two singles and a walk. Carliegh Myatt then entered in relief of Luck, who gave up two runs — one earned — on five hits and three walks, while striking out two.
Myatt worked out of the third-inning jam and went on to pitch the final 4 2/3 innings. She allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out two.
Reinhardt coach Glen Crawford praised the performance of Myatt, who hadn’t pitched a game in six weeks.
“She came and threw a good game,” he said. “I thought she did really well for not having many innings. She stepped up to the challenge. She held them at bay and gave us a chance, and that is all you can ask for when someone comes in like that.”
The damage had already been done.
It was then that Reinhardt’s lack of offense became evident. As the game wore on, fans waited for a late comeback, such as the rally that helped the Lady Eagles advance Monday night, but it never came.
Reinhardt put runners on base in three of the final four innings and stranded in runner in scoring position twice. The Lady Eagles were hurt by uncharacteristic strikeouts — nine times being turned away at the plate.
Cassie Daniels pitched the complete game for Auburn Montgomery, giving up six hits and not walking a batter.
Not only did Reinhardt see a 13-game winning streak dating back to May 5 end, but it was shut out for the first time since March 12.
Browder led the Lady Eagles, going 2-for-3 with a double. Shelby Sinclair, also 2-for-3, was the only other Reinhardt player with multiple hits. Amanda Rutkowski pinch-hit in the seventh and reached successfully.
Crawford said that all the teams are tough at this point in the season.
“We are just as tough as they are,” he said. “They got a key hit and we didn’t. We had C.J. at third with one out and couldn’t get her in. Then we had her at second and couldn’t get her in. Then we had second and third with one out and couldn’t get a run.
“That was right where we wanted to be. We just couldn’t get a run in. Some days, you get a run, and some days, you don’t. We ran up against a good pitcher and couldn’t get it in.”
Crawford was pleased that his team didn’t back down. Knowing Reinhardt will need to win three straight games to win the NAIA title — including two over Auburn Montgomery — he isn’t intimidated.
“Three games? So, we start another winning streak,” he said.