ST. GEORGE, UTAH- Caylee Underwood had the biggest hit of her career in the opening round of the NJCAA National Tournament.
Underwood's solo home run in the fourth inning put the College of Central Florida softball team ahead for good in a 4-3 win over Lake Land (Ill.) on Wednesday evening.
"That was the turning point," said CF coach Kevin Fagan, whose team rallied from a 3-0 deficit after the second inning.
Underwood's homer sailed over the left field wall and enabled CF to emerge victorious in its first-ever national tournament game.
The No. 9 hitter in the CF lineup now has three homers on the season and upped her team's total to 64 on the season.
"She had a plan when she went up there in the fourth," Fagan said. "They beat her inside the first time she was up and she was looking for that and she really adjusted to what they were trying to do to her."
With the win, the No. 8 seed Patriots (44-13) advance to face No. 1 Arizona Western (49-7) tonight at 7 p.m. EST. Arizona Western knocked off No. 16 Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist 4-1 in extra innings in the opening round.
"We got a chance to scout them after our game," Fagan said. "Hopefully, it will pay off for us."
Autumn Hanners (7-4) got the win in relief of starter Jamie Nelson. Hanners finished the game with five scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. Over her past 14 1/3 innings spanning three outings, Hanners has not allowed a run.