MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - Western Carolina softball (19-34, 9-15 Southern Conference) snapped College of Charleston's (32-17, 13-7 SoCon) 13-game winning streak to take the final game, of the three-game series, 3-1 Sunday at Patriots Point.
The Catamounts capped off the win with a couple of individual performances from sophomore pitcher Jordan Garrett and junior Amelia Griffin. Garrett snapped the single-season strikeout record, of 210, and has 211 this season. Griffin's stolen base, in the third inning, was her 16th of the season which ties the single-season stolen base record for Western Carolina.
Garrett bent but didn't break throughout the game and benefitted from a stellar defensive effort by the Catamounts. She improved to 12-12 on the season, equaling her win total of her freshman campaign, giving up one run, on 10 hits and striking out five. Garrett did give up six walks but always found a way to work around them, save once.
College of Charleston had opportunities, stranding 14 batters on the day, but Western Carolina seemed to always have the defensive answer when the Cougars were pressing.
Western Carolina exerted its defensive prowess in the first inning. Cougar second baseman Ashton Jarrett led off with a single but was erased at second when Catamount catcher Heather Chastain threw her out. After a College of Charleston walk and single CofC had runners at first and second. A single by Mackenzie Maples, to left field, looked like it would be the Cougars first run but Griffin threw a bullet from left field to Chastain at home who laid down the tag and got Vaughn out to end the inning.
The Catamounts set the tone for the game when it posted two runs in the top of the third inning against Cougar pitcher Hope Klicker.
Megan Crowe led off the third with a single that tipped off the glove of Klicker who turned around and had a wild pitch to move Crowe to second. Karley Harkey laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Crowe to third. Amelia Griffin followed with a grounder to shortstop reaching first safely, when Crowe looked like she was going home forcing the Cougar shortstop to hold the ball and Griffin was safe.
Griffin picked up her 16th stolen base of the season, tying the school record of stolen bases in a season, when she swiped the bag at second to put runners at second and third with one out. Jordan Fulton loaded the bases when he reached on a fielder's choice.
Taylor Sigmon hit a two RBI single up the middle to give Western Carolina the early 2-0 lead.
Garrett got into a jam in the third inning resulting in a run for the College of Charleston. With bases loaded, Garrett walked Vaughn for the easy run.
However, Garrett bounced back and held the Cougars scoreless for the ensuing four innings.
Western Carolina added an insurance run in the top of the fourth. Chastain led off with a walk, and was replaced at first by Sarah Perrine who came in to pinch run. Crowe followed with a double to left field, her second hit of the game, pushing Perrine to third. Harkey followed with a shot to the shortstop who hit into a fielder's choice, scoring Perrine, and picking up an RBI for Harkey.
Even though she got into a few tight spots, Garrett and her defense worked around them and the three runs held for the Catamounts.
Garrett got her biggest strikeout of the game, which also broke the record, in the seventh inning. Maples led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and the Cougars had the tying run at the plate. Garrett gave the Catamounts a sigh of relief when she struck out Rebecca Mueller, her fifth strikeout of the game her record-breaking 211th of the season. Garrett followed by getting Kristy Giragosian to foul out.
With two outs, things got interesting again when Garrett hit Courtney Clark to put runners on first and second and the winning one at the plate. Garrett forced Carly Corthell to ground out to the short stop, Harkey, to end the inning and the game.
Western Carolina will take 10 days off before opening play at the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. on the UNCG campus. With one week left it is still a murky situation in the seeding, but Western Carolina has at least locked down the No. 7 seed.