UNCG upsets top-seeded Chattanooga at SoCon tournament
GREENSBORO, NC – For the second-straight season, UNC Greensboro pulled the upset as the No. 8 seed by defeating No. 1 Chattanooga, 2-1, in eight innings, in the fourth game of the Southern Conference Championships at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Spartans’ upset was the fourth of the day at the championships and marked the first time in SoCon history that all four lower seeds won in the opening round. UNCG (28-35) moves on in the winner’s bracket to take on No. 5 Western Carolina on Thursday at 5 p.m., while UTC (35-30) takes on No. 4 Georgia Southern at noon.
Vanessa Oakes picked up the win after giving up just one run on four hits and striking out four in eight innings. She improved to 13-11 on the season. Brooke Loudermilk gave up two runs on five hits and struck out 10 in eight innings for the loss.
Lyndsay Mouse helped lead the Spartan offense going 2-for-4 from the plate with a run scored. Leslie Furness and Kara Clouser produced the team’s two RBI. The Lady Mocs’ Laci Upchurch finished the day 2-for-3 with the team’s lone RBI, her 13th home run of the season.
With her fifth strikeout of the game in the top of the third inning, Loudermilk moved past current UTC pitching coach Lacey Swarthout into second in the Lady Moc record books for strikeouts in a season with 283. She ended the game with 10 strikeouts, improving her season mark to 288, which also moved the freshman into sixth place in the career record books.
After both teams went hitless the first three innings, the Spartans put their second runner of the game on the base paths in the top of the fourth inning on an error by the UTC shortstop. The next batter, Lyndsay Mouse broke up Loudermilk’s no-hitter with a two-out single to the shortstop. The Spartans couldn’t convert a run, as the next batter flied out to center to end the inning.
Tia Blosser broke up UNCG’s Vanessa Oakes’ no-hitter with a bloop-single to left field in the bottom of the fourth. UTC couldn’t take advantage of its first baserunner of the game as Oakes struck out the next batter to keep the game scoreless.
After one and a half more scoreless innings, Upchurch belted a one-out solo home run to give the Lady Mocs a 1-0 lead. The next batters went down in order as UTC entered the top of the seventh with a 1-0 lead.
Just three outs away from a loss, UNCG’s Mouse led off the inning with a single and stole second to get into scoring position. The next batter, Kara Clouser, doubled to score Mouse from second to tie the game at one run apiece. The following three batters went down in order as the Lady Mocs and Spartans entered the bottom of the seventh knotted at one.
Despite a one-out single by Alyssa Edwards, the Lady Mocs couldn’t put up a run in the bottom of the seventh as the two teams headed to extra innings.
With two outs and a runner on first in the top of the eighth, Furness got her first hit of the game, a double off the wall in right center field, to score the runner from first and give UNCG a 2-1 lead. UTC shortstop Tia Blosser made the third out of the inning and saved a run with a leaping catch to give her team an opportunity in the bottom of the eighth inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Oakes retired the first two batters before Upchurch singled to center field, bringing up Jeannie Cochran for the Lady Mocs. Oakes got Cochran to ground out to second as the Spartans completed the upset.
UNCG................ 000 000 11 - 2 5 0
Chattanooga......... 000 001 00 - 1 4 1
E - Blosser. LOB - UNCG 6; UTC 3. 2B - Furness; Clouser. HR -
Upchurch. HBP - Audley. SB - Mouse.
Win - Oakes (13-11). Loss - Loudermilk (22-12). Save - None. HBP - by Loudermilk (Audley). Pitches/strikes: Oakes 86/62; Loudermilk 117/84. Umpires - HP: Raymond McDowell 1B: Al Poirier 3B: Tim Inman Start: 5:18 Time: 1:41 Attendance: 165
Game One: No. 7 Paladins Upset No. 2 Cougars, 12-5
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Led by a six-run fifth inning, No. 7 Furman pulled off the upset over No. 2 College of Charleston with a 12-5 win, Wednesday in the opening game of the Southern Conference Softball Championships at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Paladins improve to 18-33-1 on the season and will move on to play the winner of No. 3 Appalachian State and No. 6 Elon, while the Cougars drop to 33-25 overall and will meet the loser of that game.
Blake Murray picked up the win on the mound after giving up five runs on 10 hits and striking out five in a complete seven-inning game. She improves to 8-16 on the season. College of Charleston’s Terri Mesko gave up six runs on seven hits with four strikeouts for the loss.
Stephanie Cushing and Lana Mackey helped pace the Paladin offense with three RBI each. Cushing went 2-for-3 with a double, while Mackey finished 1-of-3 with a three-run homerun.
Izmena Cabrera went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot for the Cougars, while Kristie Shifflett had a team-high two RBI.
Mesko forced the Paladins into a one-two-three top of the first inning to open the game. The Cougar offense supported their pitcher and took advantage of Furman’s mistakes as it put up two runs on two hits in the bottom of the inning for an early 2-0 lead.
In their next at-bat, the Paladin’s tied the score at two off RBI by Brythe Blankenship and Lynn Parmer.
With the score tied at two and two on with two outs for the Paladins in the top of the third inning, Mackey homered to left field, just right of the foul pole, to give Furman a 5-2 lead.
Furman added a run in the top of the fourth off a two-out error by the CofC infield, to extend its lead to 6-2. Cushing kept the inning alive with a single to left field, before Mesko recorded her fourth strikeout of the game to end the threat.
With one out and the bases loaded for the Cougars in the bottom of the fourth, Kristie Shifflett singled to shallow left field to score two runs and cut the Paladin lead to two at 6-4. A two-out single by Howard scored another run to cut the lead to one at 6-5.
With Katie Sansouci on the mound for CofC, Blankenship hit a blooper to shallow center field to open the fifth inning for Furman. Mackey and Franklin walked on the next two at bats to load the bases with no outs. Sansouci struck out the next batter and got the following batter to hit into a fielder’s choice to give the Paladins two outs.
Amber Kiser singled in the next at bat to bring in a run for a 7-5 FU lead. The next batter, Abby Robertson walked to bring in the second run of the inning, followed by a double by Cushing to score all three runners to open the lead wide open at 11-5. Sansouci walked the next batter, before Howard came in to relieve her at the mound. Blankenship took a Howard pitch off the wall in left center field to score one more run as Furman entered the sixth inning with a 12-5 lead.
The Cougars threatened in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and second with one out, but Murray got the batter to hit into a double-play to end the inning with a 12-5 lead.
Neither team could put runs on the board in the seventh inning as Furman went on for the 12-5 upset.
Game Two: The Upsets Continue as No. 6 Elon Defeats No. 3 Appalachian, 2-1
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The upsets continued at the Southern Conference Softball Championships Wednesday, as No. 6 Elon defeated No. 3 Appalachian State, 2-1, in the second game of the tournament at the UNCG Softball Field.
With the win, Elon improves to 28-30 and will face No. 7 Furman, which upset No. 2 College of Charleston, 12-5 earlier in the day. Appalachian drops to 20-37 and will take on College of Charleston in an elimination game on Thursday at 10 a.m.
Carol Lilley picked up the win for Elon to improve to 14-11. Lilley gave up just one run on seven hits in seven innings pitched. Kayla Richardson suffered the loss for Appalachian to drop to 8-10 on the season after giving up two runs on six hits in seven innings.
Debbie Zeigler and Laurin Smith recorded Elon’s RBI, as each went one-for-three on the day. Smith had the lone homerun of the game, her fifth of the season. The Mountaineer offense was led by Lindsay Glover with the lone RBI and Natalie Willis, who went 2-for-3 at the plate.
The Mountaineers held the Phoenix scoreless in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the inning, the leadoff hitter, Danielle Peters walked to get on base and stole second to put her in scoring position. The second batter, Glover scored a line drive to right field to score Peters and give ASU an early 1-0 lead.
Both teams went scoreless in the second inning. Elon put two runners on with two out in the top of the third Zeigler drove in the first run with a double to center field. With runners on second and third, Richardson got Helterbran looking to end the inning with a 1-1 tie.
After Appalachian went scoreless in the bottom of the third, Smith belted a solo shot off the scoreboard in right center field to give Elon a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Glover made back-to-back solid plays at third base to get the Mountaineers out of the inning.
Both defenses locked down during the next two innings, as both teams went scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings. Richardson’s fifth strikeout of the game came as Appalachian put down Elon, one-two-three in the top of the seventh as it headed to its final at bat down a run.
Willis grounded out to start the inning, bringing Peters to the plate, who popped out to center field. With the game on the line, Glover lined out to first base as the Phoenix escaped with a 2-1 victory.
Game Three: Late Rally Lifts Catamounts Over Eagles
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Western Carolina snapped a scoreless tie with a two-run, two-out rally in the top of the seventh inning to defeat Georgia Southern, 2-0, Wednesday in the third game of the Southern Conference Championships at the UNCG Softball Field.
The win for No. 5 Western Carolina (27-32) over No. 4 Georgia Southern (24-31), marked the third straight game in the tournament in which the lower seed pulled out the victory.
Mendy McKenzie got the win on the mound for the Catamounts as she gave up just six hits in a complete seven inning shutout to improve to 12-18 on the season. A.J. Street gave up two runs on five hits in 6.2 innings pitched for the loss for the Eagles.
Mollie Fowler led the Catamount offense with two hits in three at bats, a run scored and an RBI. Fowler had the game’s lone homerun, breaking a scoreless tie in the seventh. Heather Smith had three of the Eagles’ six hits, including a triple.
Western Carolina went down one-two-three in first three innings, while Georgia Southern slammed out three hits in the opening three innings. The Catamounts put their first hit on the board in the top of the fourth off a double by Nikki Bost.
The pitching battle continued as both teams remained scoreless heading into the top of the seventh inning.
With two out in the top of the seventh, Western Carolina put just its third hit on the board as Mollie Fowler belted a solo homerun deep over the center field fence. On the next Catamount at bat, Jamie Swank doubled to right field for the team’s fourth hit of the game and second of the inning. The next batter, Danielle Reese, walked as the Catamounts brought in Beth Hauser to pinch hit with two runners on. Hauser blasted a single to center field to score one run and advance Reese to third, giving WCU a 2-0 lead.
With McKenzie at the plate and Logan Free on the mound for Georgia Southern, Reese attempted to score from third on a wild pitch, but was tagged out by catcher Jenny Side at the plate to end the rally and the inning with a 2-0 WCU lead.
In the Eagles’ final hope, GSU put runners on first and second with one out and Lindsey Hopkins at the plate. Hopkins popped up a bunt to the pitcher down the first baseline for the second out of the inning. McKenzie got the final batter to pop out to center field to end the game and seal the 2-0 Western Carolina victory.
- UNCG -