Angelina College’s Rachel Agnello (8) celebrates her two-run homer in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game against Salt Lake Community College. The 12th-seeded Lady Roadrunners knocked off the 5th-seeded Bruins 7-5 in the opening round of the NJCAA Division I National Championship tournament in St. George, Utah. (Gary Stallard photo)

For their first-round opponent in the NJCAA Division I National Championship tournament, the Angelina College Lady Roadrunners drew the No. 5 team in the nation, a team featuring the top pitcher in the country.

But all the competition the Lady ‘Runners faced in their own conference proved the perfect test, and AC’s ladies – seeded 12th in the tournament – on Wednesday pulled off a 7-5 upset over Salt Lake Community College at the Canyons Complex in St. George, Utah.

The Bruins started in the circle the imposing Tarni Stepto, she of the 0.60 ERA for the entire 2019 season. Before the game, AC head coach Mark Mattson mentioned how much Stepto resembled a couple of Region XIV opponents. Clearly, the Lady ‘Runners also saw the similarities. Kaylee Ancelot drove in four runs, ripping a first-inning double to score Tristin Anders and a bases-clearing, three-run double in the second inning. Jessica Husband also doubled home a run in the second.

In the top of the fifth, Rachel Agnello launched a two-run homer to give the Lady ‘Runners a 7-2 lead. Those two insurance runs made all the difference when Stepto crushed a three-run shot of her own in the fifth to cut the AC lead to 7-5.

Salt Lake threated in each of the final two innings, loading the bases in the sixth before AC’s McKenna Fryar ended the inning with a strikeout. The Bruins put two runners aboard in the seventh with one out, but Fryar induced a pair of infield popups – with catcher Makayla Rodger chasing down the final out near the backstop – to seal the win.

Shelby Mixon earned the win in the circle for AC, with Fryar picking up the save.

The Lady Roadrunners on Thursday will face 13th seed Indian Hills, 7-5 winners over No. 4 seed Tyler Junior College. Game time is 3:30 p.m. EST.

The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is gstallard@angelina.edu.

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Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.