Samford, Elon and UNCG Pull Off Day One Upsets
Furman Eliminates Western Carolina 5-4 in Game One of the Softball Championship
STATESBORO, Ga. - The Furman Paladins fought off a late rally from Western Carolina to win the opening game of the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers, 5-4.
Furman jumped out to the early lead by scoring the first five runs of the game. In the bottom of the first, shortstop Jessie Homesley put the Paladins on the board with a two-run blast to right-center field after freshman Nikki Legg reached base on an infield single. Furman then left the bases loaded as Western Carolina's Katie King (8-18) struck out Emily Boyer to end the Paladins' threat.
The Paladins increased its run total with two in the fourth and one in fifth innings. In the fourth, freshman Stephanie Spain's triple scored Alex Bimonte and then Spain advanced home after a throwing error by the Catamounts' Sara Spencer. Homesley then led off the fifth inning with a double and then scored on a double from freshman Hannah Pace.
Western Carolina responded in the sixth inning as Haley Pace led off the inning by reaching on an error and then advanced to second on a stolen base and then to third on a wild pitch. Ambers Steinhardt then sent Pace home with a single, the first of three straight for the Catamounts to load the bases.
After Furman's Kayla Suskauer (13-15) walked in the next batter to give Western Carolina's second run, the Paladins went to the bullpen to bring in Hannah Bradley. The Furman pitcher walked two of the first three hitters she faced to trim the Furman lead to 5-4 before putting an end to the Catamounts' bases loaded threat. Bradley then retired the Catamounts quietly in the seventh to pick up the save, the first for a Paladins pitcher this season.
Furman improved its season record to 18-33, while the Catamounts ended its 2011 campaign with an 18-35 record. The Paladins will have a quick turnaround as they will face No. 1 seed Chattanooga (38-12, 20-3 SoCon) today at 2:00 p.m. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.
Elon Holds Off College of Charleston to Advance in the Winner's Bracket
STATESBORO, Ga. - Elon's Carleigh Nester made a diving catch in centerfield for the final out of the game to preserve the win for the Phoenix in the second game of the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers. Elon advanced in the winner's bracket with the 7-5 win over the College of Charleston Cougars.
Trailing 7-2 in the seventh, College of Charleston inched its way back into the game by capitalizing on mental mistakes by the Phoenix. The Cougars scored all three of its runs with the bases loaded off a fielding error, a hit by a pitch and a passed ball. Elon's Kari Pervell came into the game to stop the Cougars late push by retiring the two batters she faced to pick up her first save of the season.
Elon jumped on the 2011 SoCon Pitcher of the Year Alexa Datko early with two runs on four hits in the top of the first. Senior Emerald Graham and Kaitlyn Piazzolla each contributed with RBI singles for the Phoenix before Datko settled down and got out of the inning.
College of Charleston tied the game at two in the second inning after Carly Corthell hit a two-out, two-run triple to centerfield of Elon starter Erin O'Shea.
Elon wasted no time reclaiming the lead as senior Caitlin McGowan led off the third inning with a solo shot to left field. It was McGowan's second home run of the year and fifth of her career. The Phoenix then added more in the fourth inning after a leadoff double by Pam DelPizzo followed by a triple by Hannah Shelton. After Jackie Gonzalez reached on an infield single and stole second base, a single by Carleigh Nester scored two more Elon to push the lead to 6-2, causing College of Charleston to go to the bullpen and rely on the arm of Stephanie Saylors.
Elon padded its lead in the top of the seventh as sophomore Tomeka Watson blasted a solo shot to left field to give the Phoenix a 7-2 lead. It was Watson's fifth home run on the season.
Elon improves its record to 30-22 while College of Charleston falls to 33-20. The Phoenix return to the diamond tomorrow at 3 p.m. to face the winner of the Chattanooga and Furman game played later today. The Cougars will face the loser in tomorrow's opener at 10 a.m. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.
Chattanooga Silences Furman's Bats, Wins 4-0
STATESBORO, Ga. - Behind the strong pitching of Michelle Fuzzard and Kandice Irwin, Chattanooga shutout Furman 4-0 in the third game of the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers.
Fuzzard pitched five innings of one-hit ball while striking out three while Irwin came in to throw the final two innings. Irwin struck out one while keeping the Paladins hitless. Fuzzard improved her record to a conference best 17-6.
Chattanooga's two runs in the second inning proved all the Lady Mocs would need to take the win from Furman. Chattanooga scored with a RBI single by Lauren Flores and a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Fuzzard, the 2011 SoCon Player of the Year. The Lady Mocs left five runners on base in the first two innings which kept the game close until the final out.
Senior Della Harrison smashed a two-run shot in the bottom of the third inning. It was the seventh home run for Harrison and RBI 26 and 27 on the season for the Lady Moc right fielder.
Chattanooga (39-12) advances to face Elon tomorrow at 3 p.m. Furman (18-34) will square off against College of Charleston in tomorrow's opener at 10 a.m. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.
Samford Upsets Appalachian State in Softball Championship, 6-3
STATESBORO, Ga. - In a game that went back-and-forth in the early innings, the No. 7 seed Samford Bulldogs used a four-run fourth inning to upset No. 2 seed Appalachian State 6-3 in the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers.
After losing its third inning league, the Bulldogs scored four runs off only hit in the fourth inning to reclaim its lead for good. Kayla Bobrowski led off the inning with a walk, and then pinch runner Madeline Baker moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Baker moved to third on a ground out to second base before Arica Dykes walked. With two outs in the inning, the Bulldogs started to put some damage in the run column. Dykes stole second, advancing Baker home on the throw to second. Kayla Shaffer reached then reached base on a fielder's choice error, putting runners on the corner again. The same strategy worked again for Samford, as Shaffer stole second, scoring Dykes on the throw. Robyn Harmon knocked in the final two runs of the inning with a two run single to centerfield.
Appalachian State cracked the run column first in the bottom of the second inning as Allie Cashion led off with a double to right-centerfield. Michelle Lighton attempted to move Cashion over on a bunt but a throwing error by pitcher Kayla Burris scored Cashion and moved Lighton to second. Burris managed to calm her nerves and escape the inning without any more damage.
Samford responded in the top half of the next inning with two runs off a two-run, two-out triple from shortstop Amanda Jordan. Samford put runners on base with a bunt single and a walk before the senior Bulldogs' hit her first three-baser on the season.
The Mountaineers reclaimed the lead in the third when Katie Boyd led off the third with a single and was sent home off a double from Meghan Smith. Cashion dropped a single inside the foul line and then got caught in a rundown, trying to advance to second. The rundown eventually allowed Smith to score to give Appalachian State the 3-2 lead after three in the books.
Samford improves to 14-38 on the year and will face the winner of the UNCG and Georgia Southern game played later tonight. The game will start tomorrow at 5 p.m. Appalachian State (23-22) will face the loser of tonight's nightcap tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.
UNCG Outpitches Georgia Southern, Shocks Eagles 2-0
STATESBORO, Ga. - In a tightly contested pitchers' duel, UNCG's Cory Mattson outlasted Georgia Southern's Brianna Streetmon as the Spartans won 2-0 in the nightcap of the opening day at the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers in Statesboro, Ga.
Mattson tossed a complete game shutout against the Eagles as she improved her record on the year to 13-13. The Spartan junior gave up only three hits while striking out five to lead UNCG to the upset over the host Georgia Southern. Streetmon pitched 6.0 innings for the Eagles while striking out three and allowing two runs, only one of which was earned.
After not reaching base in the first three innings, UNCG's Aisha Figueroa broke up Georgia Southern's no-hit bid with an infield single and then proceeded to steal second base. Alex Emeterio then reached base on a catcher's interference, and was later thrown out at second on a fielder's choice, placing runners on the corner for the Spartans. Jordan Jewett reached on an error by the Eagles' Megen Smith, scoring Figueroa and giving UNCG the 1-0 lead.
Georgia Southern put together a great scoring opportunity in the fifth inning when Kelly Burnett led off the inning with a single over the third baseman and then advanced to second on a fielding error by Kaitlin Merkt. Kayla Brooks then walked and Andrea Tarashuk loaded the bases with a fielder's choice where Burnett beat out the throw to third. Mattson then escaped with a strike out of pinch hitter Tabby Douberley, an unsuccessful squeeze attempt by Jorie Walker and ground out by Marie Fogle, who hit a roller to Figueroa at third as she stepped on the bag to end the threat.
UNCG picked up an important insurance run in the top of the seventh inning after Merkt and Jewett started the inning with singles. Georgia Southern brought in Freshman of the Year Allie Miles to keep the game in check, and Miles got two immediate outs when she entered. However, back-to-back walks scored the final run of the game to give Mattson some comfort for the final three outs.
UNCG (25-30) advances to face Samford tomorrow at 5 p.m. while Georgia Southern (28-28) will play Appalachian State tomorrow at noon. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.