Mountaineers' Smith Leads ASU Offensively to Advance in Statesboro
STATESBORO, Ga. - Appalachian State took advantage of four unearned runs in the second inning to eliminate the Elon Phoenix in the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers. The Mountaineers advanced to the next round of the championship with a 6-5 win.
Appalachian State got the offense going right away when Katie Boyd led off the game with a home run, tying her for the national-lead in homers to begin a game with five. The Mountaineers continued to threaten with more runs in the inning as two more runners reached base, but Elon's Lauren Taylor was able to escape with a strikeout of her counterpart Hannah Dow.
Elon quickly responded quickly to the Appalachian State homer by pushing four runs across in the very next half inning. DelPizzo led off the second by legging out an infield hit followed by a bunt single by Shelton. After Lafferty was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Gonzalez knocked in the first Elon run with a fielder's choice to the shortstop. Nester then drew a full-count walk to re-load the bases for the Phoenix. A throwing error by Boyd off a McGowan groundball allowed two Phoenix to cross the plate and put runners of the corners. After Dow retired Tomeka Watson on a strikeout, Emerald Graham brought in another run with an infield single to complete the Elon second inning scoring.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, Appalachian State capitalized on a fielding error by Lauren Taylor to keep the inning alive and reclaim the lead. Sarah Rappe began the rally by reaching first off the error and moving to second on a walk to Katie Boyd. Megan Rembielak then hit a ball to Gonzalez at second base, and a throwing error by Gonzalez sent Rappe home and put runners on second and third. Meghan Smith sent Boyd home with an infield hit and moved Rembielak to third. Smith would later score on a wild pitch by Taylor. With a runner on second, Allie Cashion lined a single to centerfield and advanced to second on the throw home that Smith beat out to score the fourth and final Mountaineer unearned run of the inning. Elon went to bullpen after Smith scored and had Kari Pervell get the Phoenix out of the second inning jam.
Appalachian State picked a crucial insurance run when Smith led off the fourth with a blast of the left field wall to give the Mountaineers the 6-4 lead. It was her seventh home run of the year and her second RBI and run scored of the game.
With only three outs remaining, Elon starting to put together a rally as Watson led off the inning by reaching on a throwing error Boyd. Graham then connected on a single to center and Watson advanced to third on a fielding error. Piazolla moved Graham to second on a 6-4 fielder's choice, and Watson scored on a DelPizzo fielder's choice. With the go-ahead run on base, Hannah Shelton grounded out to Dow to end the game and seal the win for the Mountaineers.
Dow (13-4) pitched a complete game for Appalachian State, giving up only one earned run on nine hits and striking out seven Phoenix hitters. Dow allowed nine hits and one walk on 110 pitches.
Appalachian State improves to 24-21 on the season and will face the winner of the Samford and College of Charleston today at 5 p.m. Elon finishes its season with a 30-24 record. Live stats for this afternoon's game will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.
College of Charleston Outslugs Samford in 8-5 Win
STATESBORO, Ga. - In an elimination game of the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers, College of Charleston defeated Samford 8-5 in a game that featured plenty of offense.
Samford took the early lead in the top of the first inning without even making contact with the ball, as Cougar pitcher Alexa Datko started out a little shaky after striking out the lead-off hitter. Datko walked Brianna Chambers, hit Robyn Harmon and then walked Amanda Jordan to fill the bases with Bulldogs. Datko would strike out Nicole Bobrowski before walking in the first Bulldog run. Datko would eventually strike out Aaren Fisher to escape the inning without any further damage done.
College of Charleston responded in the bottom half the inning when Carly Corthell led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lizzy Vaughn. Katie Forbes would walk to bring up Kelsey Hodgson with two runners on base. Hodgson knocked a three-run blast over the right center wall to clear the bases and give the Cougars the 3-1 lead.
The Bulldogs notched its first hit against Datko in the third when Chambers hustled down the line on a ground ball to short for an infield single. Harmon would then double to center to put runners on second and third and cause Charleston to intentionally walk Jordan to load the bases. Datko would strike out Bobrowski but then walk in her second run of the game on the free pass to Alex Adams. The SoCon Pitcher of the Year would retire the next two hitters to escape her second bases loaded jam in three innings.
The Cougars would answer with two more in the bottom of the inning when Katie Forbes drew a two-out walk. Forbes would advance on a Hodgson single and both runners moved up a base on a throwing error by third baseman Arica Dykes. Katie Pesature knock in a run with an infield single, and Hodgson would later score the second run of the inning on a Kristi Woodall hit into right field.
College of Charleston would go to the bullpen and bring in Stephanie Saylors in the fourth inning after Datko started the inning by hitting Dykes and giving up a bunt single to Kayla Shaffer. Dykes, who stole second during Shaffer's at bat, advanced to third on the bunt and would score on the throw to second base during a Shaffer steal to cut the Cougar lead by one to 5-3.
Charleston would get that run back in the fifth inning when Pesature would reach first on a fielding error by Dykes. Back-to-back singles from Katie Woodall and Nutaitis would send Pesature home and move the Cougars lead back up to three runs.
Samford cut the Cougar lead to 6-5 in the sixth inning with another two-out rally. After Harmon and Jordan reached on singles, Bobrowski sent a rocket down the right field line to clear the bases. The Bulldogs' next slugger Alex Adams almost gave the Bulldogs the lead as she sent a ball to deep centerfield, but Woodall robbed her of a homerun as she reached over the fence to record the final out of the inning and keep the Cougars ahead by one.
The Cougars quickly got the runs back in the bottom half of the inning as Hillary Stringer led off the inning with a walk and Corthell reach first on a bunt single. After two groundouts, the Bulldogs opted to walk Hodgson, who homered earlier in the game, to face Pesature. The gamble did not payoff for the Bulldogs as Pesature sent a full count pitch right back up the middle for a two-RBI single.
Saylors picked up the win for the Cougars to improve her record to 15-10. The Cougar pitcher went 4.0 innings and gave up two runs, both earned, on three hits and struck out one while walking only one batter.
College of Charleston (35-20) moves on to face Appalachian State today a 5 p.m. while Samford ends its season with a 14-40 overall record. Live stats for this afternoon's game will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.