GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG softball team won both elimination games against top-seeded and two-time Southern Conference Tournament champion Georgia Southern to advance to the SoCon Championship Friday at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Spartans improve to 31-25 and have won four-straight elimination games in the Southern Conference tournament to make the championship game for the second-straight season. UNCG will face No. 2 seed Chattanooga Saturday, May 10 at 1 p.m. at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
UNCG 2, Georgia Southern 1
In game one, UNCG took a 2-1 victory to force a winner-take-all elimination game against Georgia Southern.
With the game tied 1-1 in the sixth inning, senior Toni MacReynolds (Vienna, Va./James Madison) hit the eventual game-winning RBI single to center field to push UNCG ahead 2-1.
Senior Raeanne Hanks (Rainier, Ore./Rainier Senior) threw a complete-game gem allowing one run (zero earned) off five hits with eight strikeouts. With the win, Hanks improved to 16-16 on the season and dropped SoCon Pitcher of the Year Sarah Purvis to 20-12 on the season.
UNCG took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third after a throwing error allowed senior Katelyn Bedwell (Surrey, B.C./Elgin Park) to reach first. Freshman Tory Wright (Potomac Falls, Va./Dominion) singled to right field to open the frame. After a strikeout, junior Dominique Madruga (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) doubled off the left field wall. After a fly out, Bedwell lined a grounder to third but Emily Snider made an errant throw to give UNCG the lead.
In the top of the sixth, the Eagles tied the game at 1-1 after Breanna McLendon lined a one out RBI double to left center. The inning started with a UNCG error allowing Kaitlyn Johnson to reach base. Lexi Allen laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Johnson into scoring position. McLendon roped her fifth double of the season to lock the game at 1-1.
UNCG 11, Georgia Southern 2
In game two, the Blue and Gold scored 11 runs off 15 hits and hit three home runs to power past Georgia Southern, 11-2.
Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) led the Spartans going 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI. She has hit a SoCon tournament record four home runs and now has 12 on the season.
Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) earned the win to improve to 9-5 on the season while Hanks picked up her third save of the season. Sarah Purvis dropped her second straight contest after allowing three earned runs off four hits.
The Spartans scored five runs off five hits, including a clutch three-home run from Wright. After the first two batters reached, Wright smoked a three-run blast off Purvis to knock her out of the game. Three-straight singles from Allison Geiner (Raleigh, N.C./Middle Creek), Madruga and Lindsay Thomas continued the inning. A throwing error allowed another run to score. Bedwell lined a RBI sacrifice fly to center field to push UNCG’s lead to 5-0 in the second inning.
Georgia Southern added a run in the bottom of the second off a RBI single from McLendon, who has both RBI for the Eagles the last two games. After the first two hitters reached, Nicole Thomas was able to get two outs on putouts in the infield. McLendon cut the lead to 5-1 off a RBI single with two outs.
In the top of the third, Lindsay Thomas launched a three-run shot to give the Spartans an 8-1 advantage. It was the third home run of the tournament for Thomas and 11th of the season.
The Eagles scored another run in the bottom of the fourth off another RBI single from McLendon with two outs. With two outs, back-to-back singles gave Georgia Southern its second run of the contest.
Lindsay Thomas gave the Spartans two more runs with a two-run blast in the seventh to make it 10-2. Nicole Thomas and sophomore Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas) lined back-to-back doubles giving UNCG an 11-2 lead.
All of the action will be available LIVE through SoConTV. Fans that are unable to attend will have the opportunity to view all of the games by logging on to SoConSports.com and subscribing to SoConTV. The championship game, which is slated for Saturday at 1:00 p.m., will be broadcast on ESPN3. From the first pitch to the final out, every moment of the softball action will be available, including exclusive coach and student-athlete interviews and the final awards presentation.
Be sure to follow all updates about the UNCG softball team on www.uncgspartans.com or on twitter @UNCGsports/@UNCGsoftball.