STATESBORO, Ga. - The College of Charleston softball team fell, 7-5, to a hard-hitting Elon team in the opening round of the Southern Conference Softball Championship at Eagle Field on the campus of Georgia Southern on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cougars sparked a three-run rally in the seventh, putting the tying run at second base, but ultimately fell short.
The Cougars land in the losers' bracket of the double elimination tournament and will face the loser of Wednesday's game between No. 1 Chattanooga and No. 8 Furman on Thursday, May 12 at 10 a.m.
The Phoenix mounted a lead in the top of the first with four otherwise innocent groundballs which regrettably found holes through the infield and pushed two runs across. Emerald Graham and Kaitlyn Piazzolla picked up the RBIs for the Phoenix.
The Cougars' response came in the bottom of the second inning when Kristi Woodall (Huntersville, N.C.) picked up CofC's first hit of the game and Hillary Stringer (Summerville, S.C.) walked before Carly Corthell (Reno, Nev.) tripled over the center fielder's head to clear the bases and tie the game.
The tie wouldn't hold long, however, as Caitlyn McGowan led off the top of the third with a solo home run into the leftfield bleachers to put Elon up, 3-2.
The Phoenix added three more in the fourth when they opened the inning with a double by Hannah Shelton and a triple by Pam DelPizzo followed by back-to-back one-out singles.
Tomeka Watson pushed the lead one run further with a high, carrying solo home run to left center in the top of the seventh.
The Cougars rallied in the seventh inning and put the game-tying run on second base but a diving catch in center field thwarted the comeback effort. Ashton Jarrett (Hanahan, S.C.) reached on a bunt single followed by free passes for Stringer and Lizzy Vaughn (Placerville, Calif.). Katie Forbes (Odessa, Fla.) then reached base by virtue of a Phoenix fielding error, scoring one run. Kelsey Hodgson (Woodstock, Ga.) was then hit by a pitch followed by a passed ball, cutting the score to 7-5 and putting Hodgson - the potential tying run - on second base. Woodall then sent a near game-tying blooper over the head of the shortstop but a diving Carleigh Nester was able to make the squeeze on the ball and end the rally.