No. 3 Furman Eliminates No. 7 Western Carolina
GREENSBORO, N.C. – In an elimination game that featured just five total hits, No. 3 seed Furman scored on a bunt single and a throwing error in the seventh inning to stay alive in the 2018 SoCon Softball Championship at UNCG Softball Stadium. The Paladins (39-14) will now face either No. 1 UNCG or No. 4 Chattanooga at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
All-SoCon second team selection Anna Rose Borrelli led off the bottom of the seventh inning for the Paladins with a walk, prompting Furman head coach Wally King to insert Caroline Nageotte as a pinch runner with senior third baseman Hannah Reynolds coming to the plate. Reynolds laid down a bunt that was fielded by the Catamounts’ catcher and thrown over first base, allowing Nageotte to scamper home and give Furman the 1-0 win.
SoCon Pitcher of the Year Lindsey Bert was dominant in the circle for the Paladins, throwing her second consecutive complete game in the tournament to earn her 26th win this season. The senior finished with 11 strikeouts to run her season total to 337, a Southern Conference single-season record. Bert also had two of Furman’s three hits.
Western Carolina’s Kinsey Liscio finished with one strikeout and gave up just three hits in the contest, throwing 6 1/3 innings. Abigail Daniels and Addie Pate were the lone Catamounts to record hits in the contest. Western Carolina finishes the season with a 15-37 record.
Bottom 7th – Furman 1, Western Carolina 0: Caroline Nageotte scored from first on a bunt to the catcher by Hannah Reynolds and a throwing error by the catcher with no outs
No. 1 Seed Spartans Ride Three-Run Inning into Quarterfinals
GREENSBORO, N.C. – No. 1 seed and 2018 regular-season champion UNCG scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to secure a spot in the SoCon Softball Championship quarterfinals, defeating No. 4 seed Chattanooga 4-1 on Thursday afternoon. The Spartans will now await the winner of Mercer and ETSU and play at noon on Friday while Chattanooga will face No. 3 seed Furman at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The Mocs threatened in the top of the fourth inning. After stringing together two hits, Emma Sturdivant connected on the Mocs third single of the inning and Aly Walker headed home from second base but UNCG centerfield Jordan Gontram laced a throw home and threw Walker out at the plate, keeping the score at 0-0.
UNCG finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth inning. After loading the bases, Melanie Darges drew a walk to push Emily Acquaviva home and then All-SoCon first team member Jasmine Palmer drew a walk of her own to score Rebecca Kale, giving the regular-season champions a 2-0 lead. The Spartans tacked on another run in the frame after Makenna Matthijs hit a grounder to the third baseman that was bobbled, allowing Rachael McClaskey to scamper home.
The Mocs got one run back in their next at bat as All-SoCon first team selection Brook Womack launched a home run over the left field fence, making the score 3-1. But UNCG added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning after a double to the left-center wall by Kendall McKinney scored Kale from first, giving the Spartans the 4-1 lead. That would be all All-SoCon first teamer Alicia Bazonski would need as the senior finished out the complete-game effort with a 1-2-3 inning, advancing UNCG to the quarterfinals.
UNCG had just three hits in the contest but Bazonski scattered six hits and struck out three in the circle to power the Spartans to the victory and her 17th win of the season.
Chattanooga finished the game with six hits, including two by Sturdivant and Womack. Sophomore pitcher Celie Hudson took the loss, throwing 4 1/3 innings with three strikeouts, three walks and two hits. Freshman Allison Swinford came on in relief for the Mocs, finishing out the game with 1 2/3 innings pitched.
Bottom 5th – UNCG 1, Chattanooga 0: Emily Acquaviva scored from third on a walk by Melanie Darges with one out
Bottom 5th – UNCG 2, Chattanooga 0: Rebecca Kale scored from third on a walk by Jasmine Palmer with one out
Bottom 5th – UNCG 3, Chattanooga 0: Rachael McClaskey scored from third on an error by the third baseman with one out
Top 6th – UNCG 3, Chattanooga 1: Brook Womack hit a home run to left field with one out
Bottom 6th – UNCG 4, Chattanooga 1: Rebecca Kale scored from first on a double to left center field by Kendall McKinney with two outs
No. 6 ETSU Tops No. 2 Mercer in Nine-Inning Thriller
GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the second consecutive year, it took Mercer and ETSU extra innings in a SoCon tournament contest to determine a winner and for the second consecutive year, ETSU emerged victorious as the No. 6 seed Bucs earned a 5-3 win in nine innings. The win is the sixth consecutive, dating back to last season, in the SoCon tournament for ETSU. The Bucs (18-25) will now face No. 1 seed UNCG at 12:30 p.m. on Friday while Mercer (33-18) will take on Samford at 10 a.m. on Friday. The game, which started at 3:30 p.m., was delayed for nearly four hours due to rain and lightning in the area.
ETSU wasted no time scoring in the contest. Lauren Lee led off with a double and then Taylor Wright brought Lee home with a two-out single to center field to make it a 1-0 game in the top of the first. The Bears responded in the bottom half of their inning after All-Freshman team selection, Laurenne Sanchez, scored from third on a double to left field by Quirisa Mauga, evening the score at 1-1.
The score remained 1-1 until the top of the third inning when ETSU was able to push across two more runs with the help of three hits and a sacrifice fly, giving the Bucs a 3-1 lead.
Caroline Taylor gave the Bears a boost in the bottom of the fourth inning, launching a home run to left field to cut the Bears’ deficit to one before the tarp was pulled onto the field.
Following the delay, ETSU returned to the plate with Kelly Warren first base. Warren quickly stole second to put herself in scoring position with one out but Mercer ace Megan Bilgri struck out the only two batters she faced in the inning to end the threat.
The Bears threatened in the bottom of the sixth, putting runners on second and third with two outs before Madison Ogle recorded her seventh strikeout of the day to get out of the jam and preserve the 3-2 lead. But Mercer continued to fight and the Bears’ Allie Jones led off the seventh inning with a double to left center field. Jones then advanced to third on a groundout before scampering home and tying the game at 3-3 after a throwing error on the play at the plate.
ETSU broke the tie in the top of the ninth inning after drawing a walk with one out. That brought Kylie Toler to the plate and, following a stolen base by Anisaa Avila, Toler laced a single into center field and scored Avila. ETSU added another one two batters later after Toler scored on an infield single, giving the Bucs a 5-3 lead that they would not relinquish.
Madison Ogle finished the day with nine strikeouts in a season-high nine innings of work, allowing just five hits in the contest. All-Freshman team selections Lee and Warren combined to tally four of the Bucs’ eight total hits in the contest.
Mercer was led by SoCon Freshman of the Year Micayla Rood with two hits. Stella Preston and Bilgri combined to strikeout five.
Top 1st – ETSU 1, Mercer 0: Lauren Lee scored from second on a single to left center field by Taylor Wright with two outs
Bottom 1st – ETSU 1, Mercer 1: Laurenne Sanchez scored from third on a double to left field by Quirisa Mauga with two outs
Top 3rd – ETSU 2, Mercer 1: Kelsey Chernak scored from second on a double to right center field by Nikki Grupp with one out
Top 3rd – ETSU 3, Mercer 1: Lauren Lee scored from third on a sacrifice fly to left field by Vanessa Elliott with one out
Bottom 4th – ETSU 3, Mercer 2: Caroline Taylor hit a home run to left field with no outs
Bottom 7th – ETSU 3, Mercer 3: Allie Jones scored from third on a throwing error by the second baseman with one out
Top 9th – ETSU 4, Mercer 3: Anissa Avila scored from second on a single to center field by Kylie Toler with one out
Top 9th – ETSU 5, Mercer 3: Kylie Toler scored from third on a single to the shortstop by Kelly Warren with two outs
No. 3 Furman’s Offense Explodes in Late-Night Win
GREENSBORO, N.C. – No. 3 seed Furman plated six runs in the first two innings and never looked back, securing a 9-1 win on Thursday night in its second elimination game of the day. The Paladins (40-14), who defeated Western Carolina at 10 a.m. on Thursday, picked up the win behind 10 hits. Furman will now face the winner of Samford and Mercer at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Furman took control of the game early, scoring six runs behind five hits in the first two innings. The Paladins added their seventh run of the game in the bottom of the third after Caroline Cash stole third and the Chattanooga third baseman muffed the throw, allowing Cash to touch home and make it a 7-0 game.
Chattanooga got one run back in the top of the fourth inning, as second team All-SoCon selection J.J. Hamill scored from second on a two-out single through the right side by Emma Sturdivant.
But Furman added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take an eight-run advantage and end the game in the fifth inning due to the run rule.
The Paladins were led by Cash with three hits and Lauren Duggar who finished with two. Lindsey Bert and Emily DeMonte combined to throw a three-hitter as Bert picked up her 27th win of the season.
Chattanooga’s season comes to an end with an overall record of 26-30.
Bottom 1st – Furman 1, Chattanooga 0: Casey Bigham scored from third on a sacrifice fly to center field by AnnaRose Borrelli with one out
Bottom 2nd – Furman 2, Chattanooga 0: Candance Johnson hit a solo home run to left field with no outs
Bottom 2nd – Furman 3, Chattanooga 0: Emma Ogburn hit a solo home run to left field
Bottom 2nd – Furman 5, Chattanooga 0: Caroline Cash scored from third and Lauren Duggar scored from second on a double to right field by Marissa Guimbarda with two outs
Bottom 2nd – Furman 6, Chattanooga 0: Elizabeth Pederson scored from second on a single to center field by AnnaRose Borrelli with two outs
Bottom 3rd – Furman 7, Chattanooga 0: Caroline Cash scored from third on a muffed throw by the third baseman on a steal attempt with two outs
Top 4th – Furman 7, Chattanooga 1: J.J. Hamill scored from second on a single through the right side by Emma Sturdivant with two outs
Bottom 5th – Furman 8, Chattanooga 1: Caroline Cash scored from third on a single to left field by Casey Bigham with one out
Bottom 5th – Furman 9, Chattanooga 1: Lauren Duggar stole home with one out
2018 SoCon Softball Championship
UNCG Softball Stadium ▪ Greensboro, North Carolina
Wednesday, May 9
Game 1: No. 4 Chattanooga 3, No. 5 Samford 1
Game 2: No. 2 Mercer 8, No. 7 Western Carolina 7
Game 3: No. 6 ETSU 4, No. 3 Furman 1
Thursday, May 10
Game 4: No. 3 Furman 3, No. 7 Western Carolina 1
Game 5: No. 1 UNCG 4, No. 4 Chattanooga 1
Game 6: No. 6 ETSU 5, No. 2 Mercer 3
Game 7: No. 3 Furman 9, No. 4 Chattanooga 1
Friday, May 11
Game 8: No. 5 Samford vs. No. 2 Mercer, 10 a.m., SDN
Game 9: No. 1 UNCG vs. No. 6 ETSU, 12:30, SDN
Game 10: No. 3 Furman vs. Winner of Game 8, 3 p.m., SDN
Game 11: Loser of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 10, 5:30 p.m., SDN
Saturday, May 12
Game 12: Winner of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 11, 1 p.m., ESPN+
Game 13: IF NECESSARY, 3 p.m., ESPN+
All times are Eastern.