UPDATE: Saturday's Championship has been moved back to a 5 p.m. start due to severe weather.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Giving up seven runs in the second inning and having a loss already on the day, No. 1 seed UNC Greensboro softball (31-22) stormed back with seven unanswered runs to complete the 9-7 comeback win over No. 4 Mercer (27-29) Friday evening at Jim Frost Stadium that secured the last spot in Saturday’s Southern Conference Championship Game at 1 p.m. The Spartans started the rally with three runs in the fourth inning and completed it with four more the following inning.
Katie Stettler led off the fourth inning with a double to left field and scored on an RBI-single up the middle by Melanie Darges. The bases became loaded still with no outs after pinch hitters Kayleigh Willis single through the left side and Hannah Kincer was plunked on the first pitch. With the potential tying run at first base, the Spartans were only able to get one more run, thanks to a two-out error by the shortstop.
UNCG was able to take advantage of runners on base in the next inning. Stettler and Darges hit back-to-back singles and advanced on a sac bunt. Kincer was hit by another pitch in the elbow to load the bases. Delaney Cumbie brought home Stettler on a deep sac fly to right center. Marisa Sholtes then buried a ball over the fence in left center for the go-ahead runs on a three-run homer, her 16th of the year.
A sloppy second inning with five errors in the infield in the field resulted in the Bears’ seven runs.
The Spartans scored the game’s first two runs in its first trip to the plate. After Sholtes reached on a fielding error by the second baseman with one out, Stephanie Bryden singled up the middle and advanced on the throw. A fielder’s choice by Gabi Howard to the second baseman gave Sholtes enough time to slide in safely for the first run. Makenna Matthijs then followed with an RBI-single up the middle.
News and Notes
- Stephanie Bryden (24-11) earned the win in relief, allowing no runs and walks and two hits with four strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.
- Bryden earned her 53rd career win, passing Christine Hornak (1997-98) for the fourth-most wins in program history. She also moved in fourth-place for the most wins in a single year.
- Kylie Bouplon started and recorded five outs with no earned runs, three hits and no walks with two strikeouts.
- Sholtes tied her home-run mark last season, which ranks third-most in a single season in school history.
- Darges reached base on all three trips to the plate with two singles and a walk along with two runs and an RBI.
- Stettler was the only other player in the game to record more than one hit, going 2-4 with a double and single.
-- UNCG –