May 6, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - A pair of solo homeruns by Erin Foster and Shemekia Scottonhelped Western Carolina softball (24-32, 9-15 Southern Conference) earn a series sweep of Samford (13-40, 6-18 SoCon) Sunday at the Catamount Softball Complex. It is the second conference series sweep of the season for the Catamounts.
The Catamounts earned the sixth seed in the Southern Conference Championships and will face No. 3 seed College of Charleston at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Boone, N.C. The sixth seed is the the best seed entering the tournament for the Catamounts since 2007 when Western Carolina was the No. 5 seed.
Both homeruns gave Western Carolina the lead over the Bulldogs in the game.
Foster's solo shot broke up a scoreless game. She knocked her 18th homerun of the season over the left field wall, to give the Catamounts a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Foster will complete the regular season leading the Southern Conference in homeruns and is tied for second in the Southern Conference record books for single-season homeruns. She needs three to tie the Western Carolina school record for homeruns in a season. Her 21 career homeruns ties her for second place in the Catamount record books.
The Catamounts tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning to give WCU a 3-0 lead. The scoring began with back-to-back singles by Heather Chastain and Makenzi McAteer. Pinch runners, for Chastain and McAteer, Bekah Burkett and Alex Church pulled off a double steal to place runners at second and third. A wild pitch by Samford relief pitcher Misha Aldridge, after striking out Amelia Griffin and allowing her to move to first, plated Burkett. A single up the middle by Jordan Fultonscored Church for the third run of the inning.
Samford made the game interesting when the Bulldogs battled back to tie the game at three in the top of the sixth inning. Starting Catamount pitcher Katie King gave up back-to-back singles to open the sixth and was replaced by Jordan Garrett.
A quick strikeout by Garrett, for the first out, and the Catamounts looked like they were on their way to getting out of the jam. However, Samford had other ideas. The Bulldogs benefitted from a fielder's choice RBI for its first run of the game then a single loaded the bases. Casey Clark's single to the left side scored Samford's second run of the game. Garrett bounced back by getting a strikeout, her second of the inning, to give WCU some breathing room. The bases were still loaded, though, and Garrett walked in the tying run.
Things were terse as bases were still loaded and another Bulldog run would give Samford the lead. Robyn Harmon laced a shot to centerfield it was a dying hit and Catamount centerfielder Foster dove for the ball, scooping it up as she slid across the outfield grass.
The game wasn't tied for long. Catamount junior Scotton led off the bottom of the sixth with a solo homerun over the centerfield wall to give the Catamounts the 4-3 lead.
King came back into the game in the top of the seventh inning to close out the game. Garrett took the win and improves to 12-17 on the season while King earned her first save of the season.