GREENSBORO, N.C. – No. 1 seed UNCG softball (45-11) advanced to the championship game of the Southern Conference Tournament by slugging three home runs in a 6-3 victory over the No. 6 seed ETSU Buccaneers (18-26) on Friday afternoon at UNCG Softball Stadium. The Spartans will face either ETSU, No. 3 Furman or No. 5 Samford on Saturday at 1 pm, and will play afterwards if they lose the first game since they haven’t lost in the double-elimination tournament.
The championship game appearance in the SoCon Tournament is the fourth in program history (2014, 2013 and 2010), and UNCG will seek its first conference tournament championship on Sunday.
ETSU was able to get the game-tying run at the plate in the last inning. The Bucs hit a three-run homer to left field with one out off of Hannah Stiltner, who entered the circle in the beginning of the previous inning. After a walk, the starting pitcher Alicia Bazonski (18-5) re-entered the circle. Bazonski got a grounder on a fielder’s choice to second baseman Jasmine Palmer for the second out. After an infield single that settled in between her and the catcher Becca Kale, right fielder Alexis Overdiep ended the game on a diving catch on the outfield line.
Banzonski threw 5.2 innings pitched with no runs, four hits and one walk allowed with a strikeout.
UNCG hit its first home run of the game in the second inning. With two outs, Kale got a single that bounced off the pitcher’s glove. Rachael McClaskey then hit her fifth homer of the year to right field for the game’s first runs.
The Spartans’ next homer came in the fourth inning. After hitting a foul ball that cleared the fences and just went left of the left field pole, leadoff hitter Kayleigh Willis smacked her fourth home run to left center.
The last homer from UNCG occurred in the fifth inning. Leadoff hitter Palmer single to right field and went to second base on a sac bunt by Makenna Matthijs. Marisa Sholtes got her team and SoCon-high 16th home run of the year to left center.
An insurance run was added in the next inning. With one out McClaskey drew a walk, and Kendall McKinney hit a pinch-hit single to right field. The bases became loaded after Palmer was hit by a pitch, and a wild pitch allowed McClaskey to slide in safely for the run.
Sholtes was the only Spartan to collect multiple hits, going 2-3 with a double on top of her homer. UNCG had seven hits and five walks in the game.
-- UNCG --