UNCG downs Samford, advances at SoCon tourney
BOONE, N.C. – Aubrey Baldwin was 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI and No. 4 seed UNCG hung on for a 6-5 win over No. 9 seed Samford to advance at the Southern Conference Softball Championship at Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium on Thursday. Shelby Scott hit a pair of home runs for the Bulldogs.
The Spartans (22-33) were nursing a 5-4 lead when Baldwin came up with two on and one out in the top of the sixth. The sophomore from Tucson, Ariz., laced a single to right center to score Tatiana Alcala from second to give UNCG an insurance run that would prove to be the winning tally.
Scott pulled Samford (14-42) back within a run in the bottom half of the frame, smoking a line drive out to left center to lead off the inning and cut UNCG's lead in half. Casey Clark dropped a single down the right field line to keep the rally going, but reliever Cory Mattson recovered, getting the next three batters in order to limit the damage.
The Bulldogs didn't go down without a fight, working some two-out magic in the bottom of the seventh to make it interesting. Misha Aldridge drew a walk and Abby Adams followed with a single up the middle to put a pair of runners on and bring Scott up to the plate.
Mattson won the battle this time around, coaxing a dribbler off the end of Scott's bat to first base to end the game.
The Spartans jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, taking advantage of three Samford errors in the first three innings.
UNCG scored twice in the first inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Katelyn Bedwell hit a soft grounder to second that Samford was unable to field cleanly, allowing Aisha Figueroa and Alex Emeterio to score.
The Spartans scored two more unearned runs in the third, courtesy of a pair of Bulldog errors. Baldwin reached on an error to lead off and later came in on another Samford miscue. Dominique Madruga also had an RBI single to right center to plate UNCG's fourth run of the game.
UNCG starter Erica Navarette was cruising at that point, retiring the first eight batters in order before Arica Dykes singled up the middle with two down in the bottom of the third inning.
The Bulldogs finally got to Navarette in the fourth, with Adams getting Samford on the board with an RBI single to right center and Scott following with a three-run home run to right center to knot the game at 4 and knock Navarette from the game. Mattson come on and got a pair of groundouts to avoid further damage.
Back-to-back one-out doubles from Katelyn Bedwell and Heather Robb put UNCG back on top in the fifth inning, 5-4. Bedwell dropped a perfectly placed line drive down the right field line and Robb followed with a line drive to the gap in left center.
Samford threatened to reclaim the lead in the bottom half, loading the bases with two outs. Senior Robyn Harmon and Alex Adams hit consecutive singles and Aldridge drew a walk to bring up Abby Adams, but Mattson fielded a grounder herself to end the inning and the threat.
Baldwin and Figueroa had two hits each to pace UNCG at the plate, while all but two Spartan position players got hits on the day. Everyone in the UNCG lineup reached base in the game.
Scott was 2-for-4 with four RBI for the Bulldogs, while Harmon and Abby Adams also had two hits each for Samford.
Mattson (14-17) picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. Navarette took the no-decision, departing after allowing four runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Harmon (5-12) went the distance for Samford, throwing 145 pitches in her final collegiate game. She allowed six runs (three earned) on nine hits, striking out eight and not issuing a walk.
With the win, the Spartans have now won at least one game at the tournament in each year of UNCG coach Jennifer Herzig's seven-year tenure.
UNCG will face either Chattanooga or College of Charleston on Friday at 10 a.m.
UNCG 6, Samford 5 (May 10, 2012 at Boone, N.C.)
UNCG................ 202 011 0 - 6 9 0 (22-33)
Samford............. 000 401 0 - 5 10 3 (14-42)
Pitchers: UNCG - Erica Navarette; Cory Mattson(4) and Katelyn Bedwell. Samford - Robyn Harmon
and Madison Dickey.
Win-Cory Mattson(14-17) Loss-Robyn Harmon(5-12) T-2:19 A-104
HR SAM - Shelby Scott 2 (4).
- UNCG -