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Softball Falls to ETSU in First Round of SoCon Championships

May 10, 2017

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

The Basics:
Score: No. 3 seed ETSU 7, No. 6 seed Western 0
Records: Western Carolina 17-29, ETSU 26-24
Location: Chattanooga, Tenn.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- No. 6 seed Western Carolina fell to No. 3 seed ETSU 7-0, in the first round of the Southern Conference Championships Wednesday, at Frost Stadium. The Catamounts drop into the elimination bracket and will face No. 2 seed Furman at 10 a.m. Thursday. The Paladins were upset by Chattanooga 5-4 earlier in the day.

Turning Point:
ETSU broke open a scoreless game plating two runs in the bottom of the second and exploded for five runs in the fourth to shutout the Catamounts 7-0.

How it Happened:
ETSU got on the board in the second inning with two outs after a Taylor Carter double to right-center field. Catcher Kylie Toler, who went 2-for-2 at the plate today, went on to triple to right-center to easily score Carter. With Toler on third base, Kelsey Chernak also found the gap in right-center field, knocking home Toler and giving the Bucs a 2-0 lead. The Catamounts tried to respond to the Bucs' early two-run lead in the top of the third after first baseman Shaina Reed was walked by Fadnek before advancing to second Cheyenne Mathews sacrifice bunt. Reed went on to steal third with two outs, but Fadnek forced Western Carolina's Hunter Gibbons to fly out to centerfield to end the inning, leaving Reed stranded on third base. The Bucs would put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fourth inning after recording seven straight hits and scoring five runs to push the ETSU lead to 7-0. A Chernak single to right field would score Bucs' designated player Malloree Schurr, who was on second base. Following Chernak's single, ETSU's Mykeah Johnson singled to third base, advancing Cherank to second. ETSU second baseman Nikki Grupp then singled through the left side, which allowed Cherank and and Toler to score and extend the ETSU lead to 5-0. After Grupp's single, 2017 SoCon Player of the Year Danielle Knoetze singled to left field to collect her two RBIs of the game, while knocking in Grupp and Johnson.

Inside the Box Score:
- ETSU had 13 hits in the game and Western Carolina strung together four.
- Western Carolina freshman pitcher Kinsey Liscio got her first start in SoCon Championship play and took the loss. She falls to 2-6 on the year. Liscio went three innings giving up five runs on eight hits and struck out four.
- Catamount sophomore pitcher Lily Hayes relieved Liscio and tossed the final three innings giving up two runs on five hits and struck out one.
- Madison Armstrong got the only extra base hit for the Catamounts pounding a double in the second inning. - Neither team committed an error in the game.

News & Notes:
- ETSU won its first Southern Conference Championship game since 2004. The Bucs left the SoCon after the 2005 season and returned last year, in 2016.
- This was the first meeting between WCU and ETSU in the SoCon Championships.
- Armstrong hit her 12th double of the season and continues to rank fifth in the WCU record books. She needs two to move into a tie for third place.
- Western Carolina is now 4-6 in SoCon Championship first round games. The Catamounts are 2-6 in elimination games.
- Western Carolina was shutout for the first time since dropping a 5-0 decision at Mercer on April 30. For the season, the Catamounts have been shut out nine times this season.
- Western Carolina and Furman face each other for the fourth time this season. The Paladins swept the regular season SoCon series in Cullowhee 4-2, 5-2 and just slipped past the Catamounts 7-6 in the final game. Overall, Furman leads the series 28-14 and has won the last five meetings. The two teams met in the elimination game in 2016 with the Paladins winning 4-7.

Up Next:
Western Carolina, as the No. 6 seed, will face No. 2 seed Furman in a Southern Conference Championships elimination game at 10 a.m. Thursday.

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