May 1, 2011
MT PLEASANT, S.C. - Western Carolina softball (18-31, 3-18) was edged by College of Charleston (32-17, 11-9) 3-2, in 10 innings, Sunday at Patriots Point.
As the game rolled into the 10th inning, tied at two, the International Tie-Breaker rule was enforced. Western Carolina's Amelia Griffin, who made the last out in the ninth inning, was placed on second base. Katie King's sacrifice bunt moved Griffin to third and a chop single by Roybn Burnette put runners on the corner and one out. Haley Pace ground out to the second baseman for the second out of the inning moving Burnette to second. Sophomore left fielder Jordan Fulton ground out for the third out to third, leaving Western Carolina scoreless in the 10th.
College of Charleston didn't waste its free base runner, at second base, in its half of the 10th inning. Kristi Woodall was placed on second base for the Cougars. Woodall moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored off a suicide squeeze bunt by Kristy Giragosian.
Junior lefty hurler King tossed one of the best performances of the season with a career-high 11 strikeouts, falling to 8-15 on the season. She sat down 16 of the first 17 batters, in the first five plus innings, before College of Charleston recorded its second base-runner of the game, setting up its first score of the game, in the sixth inning.
With Western Carolina leading 2-1, College of Charleston got the rally started when Kelsey Hodgson hit a double to right center field. Pinch hitter Maria Zavala sent a bunt single in front of the Catamount first baseman, and moved to second, pushing pinch runner Ashton Jarrett to third base. With two outs, Kristy Giragosian hit an RBI single past third base to tie the game at two, scoring Jarrett. A diving catch by junior center fielder Erin Foster got the third out for the Catamounts to force extra innings.
A College of Charleston error, with the bases chocked full of Western Carolina runners, broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth inning. The Cougars' attempted a force out at home but catcher Katie Pesature dropped the ball and allowed Pace to score.
The scoring began when, for the first time in the game, for either team, the lead-off runner got aboard when Western Carolina's Burnette drew a walk in the top of the sixth. It was the third free pass issued by Cougar pitcher Alexa Datko in the game. Pace broke up Datko's no-hitter attempt when she hit a liner up the middle, placing runners at first and second. Fulton hit into a fielder's choice, which erased Burnette at third. A bunt attempt by Amber Steinhardt turned into a single when she hit it just in front of the charging Cougar first baseman.
With bases still loaded, and one out, Kelly Braman's RBI single to right field plated Fulton, for a 2-0 Catamount lead. The second run by Western Carolina ousted the Cougar pitcher Datko. Relief pitcher Stephanie Saylors came into the game and forced Erin Foster to fly out to right field and Steinhardt was gunned down at the plate for the third out of the inning.
College of Charleston got to work on Catamount pitcher King just as Western Carolina did in the top of the sixth inning against Datko. It began with a WCU error, with two outs, that allowed Carly Corthell to reach first. An RBI single by Lizzy Vaughn scored Corthell and cut the Western Carolina lead to 2-1. King rebounded and forced Katie Forbes to ground out to first base to end the inning.
After sitting down 13 straight batters, Datko showed signs of cracking her steely resolve when she walked Braman in the top of the fifth inning. It was the first Catamount base runner of the game, and the first walk by Datko in the weekend series. After Foster struck out, for the second out of the inning, Datko issued her second walk of the inning, giving Amelia Griffin a free pass. Datko recovered when she forced King to line out to third base to end the inning.
Western Carolina will host Chattanooga May 7-8 in the final home Southern Conference series of the season. Saturday's doubleheader begins at 5 p.m. and Sunday's single game is set for 1 p.m.