Waters Pitches Chattanooga into the Semifinals
STATESBORO, Ga. - Behind strong pitching from Nikki Waters and an explosive fifth inning at the plate, Chattanooga was able to pull away from Elon and advance to the semifinals of In the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers in Statesboro, Ga. The Lady Mocs move on after a 7-1 win over the Phoenix.
Chattanooga's fifth inning, where the Lady Mocs scored five runs on three hits, started with Lyndsey Stiles reaching on an error and then advanced second base after Sara Poteat beat out a perfectly placed bunt. Michelle Fuzzard lined a bases-clearing double to left center to send Stiles and Poteat home and reach the 70-RBI mark on the season. Layne Rainey was sent to pinch run Fuzzard, and after a Baker out and a Vivian Morimoto walk, Rainey scored on a Kasey Tydingco ground out right before Della Harrison knocked her second home run of the tournament with a blast to left.
Chattanooga added one more in the sixth inning when Stiles led off the inning with a single and then stole second. After an error on a pickoff attempt at second, Stiles moved to third and scored on a Fuzzard sacrifice fly to right.
Chattanooga struck first in the third inning with a run after the Lady Mocs loaded the bases with walks to Jessica Traxler and Stiles and single by Lauren Flores with no outs. Poteat singled home Traxler with a ball just out of reach of second baseman Jackie Gonzalez, but the Lady Mocs could not do any more damage as Elon pitcher Erin O'Shea retired the next three batters.
Elon's Carleigh Nester broke up Chattanooga's Nikki Waters' no-hit bid with the first pitch she saw in the fourth inning. Nester sent a line drive shot over the leftfield fence for her fifth homer of the season to tie the game at one apiece.
Water pitched a complete game two-hitter while striking out five Phoenix hitters and not walking a batter. Waters improved to 10-4 on the year while O'Shea picked up the loss and fell to 12-12.
Chattanooga (40-12) advances to tomorrow's semifinal game at 3 p.m. The Lady Mocs will play the winner of tonight's Samford and UNCG game. Elon (30-23) will play Appalachian State in the opening game of Day Three at 10 a.m. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.
UNCG Advances to Semifinals After Strong Outting From Mattson
STATESBORO, Ga. - In the second straight pitchers' duel of the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers, UNCG's Cory Mattson outlasted Samford's Kayla Burris to advance the Spartans to the semifinals in a 4-1 victory.
UNCG jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when April Langley led off the game with a walk for UNCG and then advanced to second on a stolen base. The Spartan leftfielder came home on an Alex Emeterio single, to give the game its only run for the first five innings.
It was not until the sixth inning until a team would cross home again, when UNCG started a rally with a one out double to left center by catcher Katelyn Bedwell. The Spartans sent Ashley Reetz to run for Bedwell and after a walk to Kristen Gabel, UNCG advanced the runners to second and third with a Kristen Gabel fly out to deep center. With two outs in the inning, Langley put down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Reetz and give the Spartans an important insurance run, as the Bulldogs would strike the bottom of the inning.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Bulldog shortstop Amanda Jordan ripped a ball over the left field wall to cut the Spartan lead in half. It was Jordan's ninth homer of the season and her team-leading 24th RBI. Samford's momentum ended when Aaren Fisher was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
UNCG responded in the top of the seventh with two more runs off a Bedwell triple. The Spartans started the scoring with back-to-back one out singles from Kaitlin Merkt and Jordan Jewett. After an Eileen Horsmon line out to right, Bedwell ripped a ball down the line that landed on the chalk, sending Merkt and Jewett across the plate.
Raeanne Hanks relieved starter Mattson in the seventh to pick up her second save on the season. Mattson pitched 6.0 innings and struck out two hitters and only gave up one run on five hits to improve to 14-13 on the season.
Bedwell was a long ball away from the cycle as she went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI in the game for the Spartans.
Burris fell to 9-16 on the year after a complete game for the Bulldogs. Burris struck out four hitters and kept the Spartans' bats quiet until the late innings of the game.
UNCG moves to 26-30 on the season and will face Chattanooga tomorrow at 3 p.m. Samford (14-38) will face College of Charleston tomorrow at noon. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.