College of Charleston Shuts Out UNCG to Advance to Championship
STATESBORO, Ga. - Two runs was all the College of Charleston offense needed to produce as pitcher Alexa Datko was almost untouchable in the circle. The Cougars advanced to the championship game by blanking the UNCG Spartans, 2-0, in an elimination game at the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers.
Datko, the 2011 SoCon Pitcher of the Year, threw a complete game shutout for her 17th win on the season. Datko (17-8) gave up only four hits and struck out eight Spartans on 90 pitches, 61 of which crossed the plate for strikes.
The Cougars jumped on UNCG pitcher Cory Mattson early in the game with two hits and a run in the first inning. Carly Corthell led off the game with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Lizzy Vaughn. Back-to-back singles from Katie Forbes and Kelsey Hodgson scored the early Charleston run. Mattson retired Katie Pesature on strikes and got out of the inning when Forbes was thrown out at home trying to score on a fielding error by second baseman Heather Robb.
Charleston added another run in the fourth when Pesature knocked a one-out triple that landed just inside the right field line. The senior scored when Kristi Woodall lined a single over the shortstop's head to give the Cougars the 2-0 lead. It was Woodall's sixth hit and second RBI of the tournament.
UNCG's best scoring opportunity occurred in the bottom of the fourth inning when Eileen Horsmon and Kaitlin Merkt combined for consecutive singles with one out. Jordan Jewett lined out to right field, which allowed Horsmon to advance to third on the play. However, Datko was able to extinguish the Spartan rally when she fanned Katelyn Bedwell on strikes for Datko's sixth strike out of the game.
The Spartans wrapped up its season with a 26-31 overall record while the Cougars improved to 37-20. College of Charleston advances to the championship game between Chattanooga played a 1:30 p.m. The Cougars will need to defeat the Lady Mocs twice in order to stake claim to the SoCon's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.