GREENSBORO, N.C. – The College of Charleston softball claimed a 3-1 victory at UNC Greensboro after back-to-back seventh-inning homeruns culminated the Cougars’ comeback effort in the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, CofC (34-18, 15-8 SoCon) locked up the No. 2 seed in next week’s Southern Conference Championship. As such, the Cougars will face seventh-seeded Western Carolina in the opening round on Wednesday, May 8 at 12 p.m. The tournament will also be played on the campus of UNC Greensboro.
“Today’s game was well fought,” said head coach Shelly Hoerner. “UNCG dominated most of the game but we found a way to get the job done. I’m proud of my team’s composure and heart. It’s a seven inning game for a reason; you have to play all the way to the end. Kristy [Giragosian] had a great day at the plate and made things happen.”
After the Cougars had manufactured a game-tying run in the sixth inning, Rebecca Mueller (Fair Oaks, Calif.) and Kristy Giragosian (Charlotte, N.C.) sent back-to-back homeruns out of the park to give the Cougars a seventh inning lead they’d never surrender.
Despite the offense being blanked through five innings, starting CofC pitcher Hope Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) kept the Cougars in the game by only allowing one run in her 19th complete game of the season. She pitched well under pressure to work out of jams and strand seven Spartan base runners.
The Spartans mustered their lone run in the second inning with a single through the middle by Danielle Vega and a two-out, run-scoring triple to the fence in right off the bat of Allison Geiner.
After being no-hit through the first five innings, the Cougars finally manufactured the game-tying run in the sixth once Giragosian broke up the no-hit bid when she smoked a single through the left side of the infield. Giragosian worked her way around the bases on a sacrifice bunt execution by Carly Corthell (Reno, Nev.) and a wild pitch, and scored when Ashton Jarrett (Hanahan, S.C.) put an RBI groundball on the right side of the infield.
Once Klicker’s offense erased the second-inning run she surrendered, the lefty sophomore pitched with confidence and didn’t allow another baserunner in the sixth or seventh innings.
With the game tied 1-1 and with one out in the top of the seventh, Mueller picked an opportune time to send her second career long-ball out of the park, and did so to right center on the second pitch of her at-bat. The next batter, Giragosian, worked a full count before connecting on her fifth homerun of the season to provide an insurance run which essentially deflated the Spartans.
The Cougars completed the regular season as winners of 19 of their last 22 games to earn their best tournament seed since the 2007 tournament.
“We are excited about the SoCon tourney,” said Hoerner. “We know it will be played tough throughout the week as it’s been such a competitive conference season.
“We need to stay within ourselves and play the kind of ball we know how. I feel like we ended the season on such a good note so we are looking forward to carrying that momentum forward into the tourney. We know we need to bring our ‘A’ game because we know everyone else will; that’s the fun part of playing. Anything can happen.”