Softball Claims Final Pair of Games Against Elon
The team will now await the release of the SoCon Championship bracket and schedule to determine their opening-round game.
"We pitched very, very well today," said head coach Shelly Hoerner. "Hope [Klicker] did a great job coming in and shutting Elon down. Our other pitcher, Jen Rosene, kept them off balance and pitched very well too. Another thing we did well was score runners when they were in scoring position. We hit the ball and we strung hits together which we've struggled with during the year. Today we strung them together and came out on top."
Kristy Giragosian's (Charlotte, N.C.) second-inning grand slam propelled the Cougars to victory in the third game. She added a fifth RBI when she executed a squeeze bunt in the fourth inning.
"It feels great to be back to form," said Giragosian. "I've been struggling for a while and I knew moving towards the end of the season I needed to clear my head and just have fun and relax. I know the skill is there so I needed to clear my mind and it feels good to get the swing back so we're hoping for big things next week."
Maples went 2-for-4 in the second game as well and added an RBI. Lizzy Vaughn (Placerville, Calif.) was two-for-three and scored two runs.
On Sunday alone, Hope Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) registered a win, a save, two hits, an RBI and scored a run.
"I really wanted to finish on a strong note in our last set of conference games," said Klicker. "Coach is always talking about doing everything with a purpose and coming out and doing what we can do as a team. I came out with a clear mind and gave it my all for our last conference games and it turned out okay."
GAME TWO: CofC: 3, Elon: 2
Game two of the series began on Saturday afternoon but was suspended until Sunday when rains started to fall as the teams were set to start the fifth inning.
Klicker pitched the entirety of the game and earned the win for the Cougars. She struck out eight hitters against just four hits and one base on balls. She was perfect in the three innings she pitched when the teams picked the game back up on Sunday.
The game saw the Cougars take an early lead on Saturday afternoon when Jarrett singled up the middle in the first and Maples tripled down the right field line to bring her around to score.
The lead wouldn't hold long, however, as Elon responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Carleigh Nester sparked their rally with a double into right-center field and then took third on a bunt single by Hill. Before the Cougars could regroup, Hill made towards second base which allowed Nester to sneak home while Hill was in a rundown between first and second. Tomeka Watson then doubled into right to score Hill and give Elon the lead. The Phoenix put runners on second and third but Vaughn made a pair of alert plays to record outs at the plate and minimize the damage.
CofC equalized the game in the third inning in very similar fashion to the run they scored in the first. This time Jarrett produced a bunt single and stole second base before Maples doubled down the left-field line for her second RBI of the game.
The rain intensified as Jarrett prepared to step into the box to lead off the top of the fifth inning. Before a pitch was thrown, the teams were pulled off the field to wait out the rain but the decision was eventually made to resume play on Sunday.
When the teams resumed play on Sunday, Klicker was perfect in the remaining three innings of the game and the Cougars rose to the occasion with three-hits and the only run they would need in the sixth inning.
Vaughn started the rally when she legged out a groundball to the shortstop just before Klicker lined one back over the pitcher's head and into centerfield. With two outs in the inning, Corthell dropped in a single along the left field line which allowed Vaughn to score the game-winning run from second.
GAME THREE: CofC: 7, Elon: 6
CofC took a commanding lead on the heels of Giragosian's grand slam but slowly watched it trickle away before they bore down and ultimately thwarted Elon's comeback effort.
Jen Rosene (Charlotte, N.C.) started the game and was effective in the pitching circle for four innings to earn the win. Klicker entered the circle at the start of the fifth inning and earned the first save of her collegiate career.
Elon plated the game's first run in the first behind two singles sandwiched around a stolen base and illegal-pitch advancement.
The Cougars responded in a big way in the second with a rally sparked by Maples' ground-rule double which bounced over the low fence in right field. Amanda Lonergan (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Klicker earned free passes on a walk and hit-by-pitch, respectively, before Giragosian sent a towering shot over the scoreboard in left to clear the bases.
CofC added a fifth run in the third inning when Jarrett's speed left no chance for Elon to get her out on a chopped groundball to the shortstop. Maples continued to swing a hot bat and dropped an RBI single in along the right field line which allowed Jarrett to score.
The Cougars furthered their lead the next inning when Vaughn singled and worked her way around the bases and scored on Giragosian's fifth RBI of the game which she picked on a sacrifice-bunt squeeze play.
Elon came back to life in the bottom of the fourth when Morgan Wright led off the inning with a solo homerun to right center. Danielle Lafferty then singled to shallow right field and a hit-by-pitch and passed ball put runners on the corners for Ali Ford who singled back up the middle to cut the lead to 6-4.
The Cougars took an insurance run back in the sixth when Vaughn and Klicker both jumped on the first pitches they saw resulting in a right-field-line double for Vaughn and RBI single for Klicker.
A two-run homerun by Tomeka Watson in the seventh reduced CofC's lead to 7-6 but Klicker shut them down the rest of the way to preserve the win.