GREENSBORO, N.C. – The College of Charleston softball team outlasted Chattanooga for a 5-3 win in a back-and-forth elimination game to extend their Southern Conference Tournament life at the UNCG Softball Stadium on Thursday morning.
With the win, the No. 2 CofC (35-19) advance to the next round to face the loser of No. 1 Appalachian State and No. 4 UNC Greensboro on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Cougars twice came from behind in the middle innings of the see-saw affair before capturing a fifth inning lead which they’d never give up.
The Cougars enjoyed production up and down the lineup as RBIs came from four different players and every CofC starter had at least one hit.
“This win was great,” said head coach Shelly Hoerner. “We battled from being behind in the beginning but we stayed very composed. This team has had to come from behind before . We had production throughout our whole lineup and that was key to our success. We did well of taking advantage of our opportunities and cashing in runners which is what we failed to do yesterday.
“It’s do or die. This is a position we’ve been in before and it’s about it taking it game by game, leaving it all out there and having no regrets.”
Ashton Jarrett (Hanahan, S.C.) went 3-for-3 in addition to executing a sacrifice bunt on the day, while Lizzy Vaughn (Placerville, Calif.) and Kristy Giragosian (Charlotte, N.C.) added two hits apiece en route to a 13-10 CofC hit advantage.
Hope Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) earned the Cougar win, her 18th of the season, after entering the game in a jam in the second inning and pitching 4.2 innings of four-hit softball while striking out three.
Chattanooga would strike first in the bottom of the second, and then the teams would trade runs until the Cougars permanently seized the lead in the fifth.
UTC’s first run came when Alyssa Taylor legged out an infield single as the first batter of the second inning and scored on an RBI single by Amanda Ross.
The Cougars responded immediately with Carly Corthell (Reno, Nev.) doubling to right center to lead off the third inning and Vaughn hammering the first pitch she saw into right field for a game-tying RBI single.
As quickly as the Cougars could erase the lead, however, the Lady Mocs recaptured it with the top of their lineup in the bottom half of the inning. Sam Taylor led off with a single to center, and Anyssa Robles and Sara Beth Roberts added singles to score the go-ahead run. After a third consecutive single loaded the bases, Klicker entered the circle and minimized the damage when she snagged a line drive out of the air and instinctively fired over to third base to double off the runner and end the threat.
The Cougars responded once again in the next half inning with Allison Pedigo (Scottsville, Ky.) and Rebecca Mueller (Fair Oaks, Calif.) providing back-to-back singles and advancing on a wild pitch, and Giragosian getting the run to the plate with a groundball to the left side.
After blanking the Lady Mocs in the bottom of the 4th, the Cougars moved out in front with two runs on three hits and in the fifth inning. Kelsey Hodgson (Woodstock, Ga.) initiated the rally with a single into left center and scored the go-ahead run on Mackenzie Maples’ (Corona, Calif.) RBI single to center. Maples worked her way around the bases and scored when Mueller put a groundball on the right side of the infield which the Lady Mocs defense couldn’t handle.
CofC tacked on an additional run in the sixth to extend the lead to 5-2. Jarrett perfectly placed a bunt single along the third baseline, and Vaughn contributed a sacrifice bunt to put Jarrett in scoring position. Frisbie then dropped a two-out base hit into left which brought Jarrett around to score easily.
The Mocs would take back a run in the seventh, but Klicker thwarted the comeback effort with a game-ending strikeout to preserve the win and advance the Cougars in the tournament.