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Photo Courtesy of Southern Conference
Wednesday's softball roundup
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/08/2019
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No. 5 ETSU Downs No. 4 Mercer in Tournament Opener

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The No. 5 seed ETSU Bucs earned the first win of the 2019 SoCon Softball Championship by a score of 5-1 over No. 4 seed Mercer on Wednesday at Frost Stadium. With the win, the Bucs (21-25-2) advance to face No. 1 seed UNCG while Mercer (25-28) will play at 7 p.m. on Thursday in a must-win game.

Mercer got on the board first as Abby Walsh came around from first base to score on a triple from Megan Lane in the bottom of the second. The 1-0 Bears lead held until the top of the fourth, when ETSU tied it up as Nikki Grupp scored from second on a double to right field off the bat of Kylie Toler.

ETSU quickly gained the lead, plating four in the top of the fifth. After a single by Kelly Warren, All-SoCon utility player Julia Fritz hit a two-run home run to right field to give the Bucs a 3-1 edge. Grupp reached on a throwing error and moved over to second on the overthrow, bringing first baseman Taylor Wright to the plate. Wright, a senior, belted her third home run of the season, sending the ball well over the left field stands and extending the lead to 5-1.

Mercer went down in order in the bottom half of the fifth, and ETSU did the same in the top of the sixth. The Bears couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the sixth and ETSU came to the plate looking to add to its lead. Mercer retired the first two batters, but Grupp singled up the middle and Wright, down 0-2 in the count, singled to left field to put two on with two outs. Toler grounded to third and Amanda Schwartz stepped on the bag to pick up the third out of the inning.

In the bottom half of the seventh, Lane grounded to first base and Kenlie Harvey popped up to shortstop, but Shaila Warren singled up the middle to keep hope alive. Tori Ash, an all-freshman team selection, lined out to second base and ended the game.

ETSU freshman Taylor Boling picked up the complete-game win, and Lynn Gardner, who came in to pitch the final three innings, got the loss.

Offensively, Grupp, a first-team all-conference third baseman, and Wright led the way with two hits apiece, while Wright and Fritz had two RBIs each. For the Bears, Lane finished 2-for-3 at the plate.

Scoring Summary

Bottom 2nd – Mercer 1, ETSU 0: Abby Walsh scored from first on a triple from Megan Lane with no outs.
Top 4th – Mercer 1, ETSU 1: Nikki Grupp scored from second on a double by Kylie Toler to right field with one out.
Top 5 – ETSU 3, Mercer 1: After a single by Kelly Warren, Julia Fritz hit a two-run home run to right field with one out.
             ETSU 5, Mercer 1: Nikki Grupp reached base on an error and Taylor Wright hit a two-run home run to left field with two outs.

Four-run seventh inning propels No. 7 Western Carolina past No. 2 Samford

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Heading into the top of the seventh inning trailing 4-2, No. 7 seed Western Carolina rallied for four runs and earned a 6-4 win over No. 2 Samford at the Southern Conference Softball Championship on Wednesday. The Catamounts (21-30) will now face the winner of No. 3 Chattanooga and No. 6 Furman, while the Bulldogs (22-30) will play at 9 a.m. Thursday in a must-win game.  

Western Carolina scored first in the contest when Ashlyn Long walked, advanced on a passed ball, and then stole third before coming around to score as Bailey Huneycutt reached on an error in the top of the first inning. Samford answered in the bottom half of the frame to take a 2-1 lead. Ryan Brzozoski singled to right field and advanced to second base on a wild pitch before Whitney Hinton roped a two-run home run over the left field fence.

Samford pushed the lead to two, 3-1, in the bottom of the second. Madison Couch doubled down the left field line and Kelsey Royalty moved her over to third with a sac bunt before Ashlyn Barnes singled to left field and drove in Couch. The Bulldogs tacked on another run in the bottom of the third inning to extend the lead to 4-1. Kathryn Jackson walked and Amanda Briskin came in to pinch run, stealing second before Madison Couch doubled to right center to plate Briskin.

Western Carolina began to chip away at the lead in the top of the sixth. Hunter Gibbons, a first-team all-conference outfielder, walked, stole second and moved to third on a single by Huneycutt. Erica Hayes hit an RBI single up the middle to plate Gibbons.

Samford went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth and the Catamounts came to the plate down 4-2. The Bulldogs got the first batter, Cheyenne Mathews, out as the senior grounded to third. Lindsay Perillo singled to center field and Madison Armstrong followed with a single of her own to give the Catamounts runners on first and second with one out. Perillo was tagged out on a fielder’s choice, but Armstrong advanced to second and Gibbons doubled to left center to send Armstrong home and move Long to third. Long came around to score as Huneycutt singled to center field. Gibbons scored from third and Huneycutt came around from second as Erica Hayes tripled to right field.

Western Carolina finished with nine hits and Samford totaled eight. Huneycutt (2-for-4), Hayes (2-for-4) and Perillo (2-for-3) all finished with two hits and Hayes led the way with three RBIs. Brzozoski and Couch each finished 2-for-3 and Hinton had two RBIs.

Shaina Reed picked up the win for Western Carolina as the senior struck out two and only allowed three hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.

Scoring Summary

Top 1st – Western Carolina 1, Samford 0: Ashlyn Long walked, advanced on a passed ball, and then stole third before coming around to score as Bailey Huneycutt reached on an error.  
Bottom 1st – Samford 2, Western Carolina 1: Ryan Brzozoski singled to right field and advanced to second base on a wild pitch before Whitney Hinton roped a two-run bomb over the left field fence.

Bottom 2nd – Samford 3, Western Carolina 1: Madison Couch doubled down the left field line and Kelsey Royalty moved her over to third with a sac bunt before Ashlyn Barnes singled to left field and drove in Couch.
Bottom 3 – Samford 4, Western Carolina 1: Kathryn Jackson walked and Amanda Briskin came in to pinch run, stealing second before Madison Couch doubled to right center to plate Briskin.
Top 6th – Samford 4, Western Carolina 2: Hunter Gibbons walked, stole second and moved to third on a single by Huneycutt and Erica Hayes hit an RBI single up the middle.
Top 7th – Western Carolina 6, Samford 4: Lindsay Perillo singled to center field and Madison Armstrong moved her to second with a single up the middle. Perillo was tagged out on a fielder’s choice, but Armstrong advanced to second and Gibbons doubled to left center to send Armstrong home and move Long to third. Long came around to score as Huneycutt singled to center field. Gibbons, now at third, scored, followed by Huneycutt as Erica Hayes tripled to right field.

No. 3 Chattanooga outslugs No. 6 Furman for 9-5 victory

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – No. 3 seed Chattanooga plated four runs in the third and fourth innings and added one more in the sixth to roll past No. 6 Furman 9-5 at the Southern Conference Softball Championship on Wednesday. The Mocs (34-14) will face No. 7 Western Carolina on Thursday at 2 p.m., while the Paladins (13-37) will play at 9 a.m. in a must-win game against No. 2 Samford.

The teams were scoreless through two innings, but each team exploded for four runs in the third. In the top half, Lauren Duggar singled and Cammy Pereira, a first team all-conference outfielder, moved Duggar to second with a sac bunt. Two batters later, the SoCon player of the year, Furman designated player Marissa Guimbarda, hit a home run over the left field fence. A walk by Tess Griswold, single by Emily DeMonte and walk by Casey Bigham set up a two-run double down the right field line by Taylor Vahle.

In the bottom half of the third, Alyssa Coppinger reached and advanced to second on an error. The SoCon freshman of the year, Emily Coltharp, singled and moved Coppinger to third. Hayleigh Weissenbach flied out to center field, bringing Coppinger home. Aly Walker followed with a double to right center, plating Coltharp and pulling the Mocs within two. Emma Sturdivant, a first team all-conference selection, homered to left field to even the score.

Duggar singled, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch in the top-half of the fourth, but the Mocs escaped with no damage done. In the home half of the inning, Katie Corum began the four-run affair with a single down the left field line. Back-to-back errors by the Furman defense resulted in a run scored by Taylor Chadwick, who entered to run for Corum. Devan Brown, on base from an error, moved to third and Coppinger took second, coming around to score when the next batter, Walker, reached on an error. The hot-hitting Sturdivant roped a double to left field to bring in Walker and push the score to 8-4.

A solo shot by Vahle in the top of the fifth made it 8-5, but Furman left three on base and couldn’t capitalize further. The Mocs added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Weissenbach started off the inning with a triple and Sturdivant drove her in off a single two batters later.

Chattanooga had 10 hits to Furman’s nine, but four Furman errors proved to be costly. Sturdivant led the way for the Mocs, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs. Vahle and Guimbarda were each 2-for-3 for Furman as the pair accounted for all five RBIs.

Allison Swinford, who came in for relief for SoCon Pitcher of the Year Celie Hudson, struck out seven in four innings of work to record the win. Emily DeMonte pitched six innings for Furman and took the loss.

Scoring Summary

Top 3rd – Furman 2, Chattanooga 0: Lauren Duggar singled and Cammy Pereira moved her to second with a sac bunt, and two batters later, the SoCon player of the year, Marissa Guimbarda, hit a two-run bomb.
               Furman 4, Chattanooga 0: A walk by Tess Griswold, single by Emily DeMonte and walk by Casey Bigham set up a two-run double down the right field line by Taylor Vahle.Bottom 3rd – Furman 4, Chattanooga 4: Alyssa Coppinger reached on an error and Emily Coltharp singled, moving Coppinger to third. Hayleigh Weissenbach had a sac fly to center field and Aly Walker brought Coltharp home with a double. Emma Sturdivant hit a two-run home run to left field.
Bottom 4th – Chattanooga 8, Furman 4: Katie Corum single down the left field line. Back-to-back errors by the Furman defense resulted in a run scored by pinch runner Taylor Chadwick. Devan Brown, on base from an error, moved to third and Coppinger took second, coming around to score when the next batter, Walker, reached on an error. Sturdivant roped a double to left field to bring in Walker.
Top 5th – Chattanooga 8, Furman 5: Vahle hit a solo home run.
Bottom 6th – Chattanooga 9, Furman 5: Weissebach began the inning with a triple and Sturdivant singled to drive her in.

2019 SoCon Softball Championship

Frost Stadium ▪ Chattanooga, Tenn.

 

Wednesday, May 8

Game 1: No. 5 ETSU 5, No. 4 Mercer 1, 10 a.m., SDN
Game 2: No. 7 Western Carolina 6, No. 2 Samford 4, 12:30 p.m., SDN
Game 3: No. 3 Chattanooga 9, No. 6 Furman 5, 3 p.m., SDN

Thursday, May 9

Game 4: No. 2 Samford vs. No. 6 Furman, 9 a.m., SDN
Game 5: No. 1 UNCG vs. No. 5 ETSU, 11:30 a.m., SDN
Game 6: No. 3 Western Carolina vs. No. 3 Chattanooga, 2 p.m., SDN
Game 7: Loser of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 4 ,4:30 p.m., SDN
Game 8: No. 4 Mercer vs. Loser of Game 6, 7 p.m., SDN

Friday, May 10

Game 9: Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6, 12:30 p.m., SDN
Game 10: Winner of Game 7 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 11

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.

 

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