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Guimbarda’s Seventh-Inning Homer Lifts Furman To 2-1 Win, Series Victory At Mercer

Marissa Guimbarda's seven-inning blast gave Furman its 14th win in its last 17 games.
Marissa Guimbarda's seven-inning blast gave Furman its 14th win in its last 17 games.

2018 SoCon Softball Championship Bracket

Macon, Ga. -- Freshman Marissa Guimbarda hammered a solo home run to center field with two outs in the top of the seventh inning to propel Furman to a 2-1 victory over Mercer and a best-of-three series win over the Bears in the regular season finale for both teams on Sunday afternoon at Sikes Field in Macon, Ga.

With the win, Furman improved to 38-13 overall and 10-6 in Southern Conference play, while the Bears slid to 32-17 overall and 11-5 in the league. Furman's 38 wins mark the most by a Paladin squad since posting a 40-14-1 record in 1993 and rank as the third most wins in a single season in school history.

Sunday's victory earned Furman the No. 3 seed in this week's SoCon Softball Championship in Greensboro, N.C., and Mercer will begin tournament play as the No. 2 seed. The Paladins will face No. 6 seed ETSU in the opening round on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at UNCG Softball Stadium.

With the game knotted at 1-1 and two outs in the top of the seventh, Guimbarda lifted a Megan Bilgri pitch over the center field fence for her second hit of the day and seventh home run of the season. In the bottom half of the inning, senior Lindsey Bert recorded back-to-back strikeouts before getting a flyout to left field to end the game.

Bert (25-8) limited the Bears to a run on three hits over seven innings to establish a new single season Furman record with her 25th victory in the circle. The left-hander, who leads the nation with 317 strikeouts this season, fanned 11 batters without issuing a walk in the regular season finale.

Furman grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when leadoff hitter Lauren Duggar doubled down the left field line, stole third base and scored on Caroline Cash's sacrifice fly to center field. The Paladins, who stranded 10 runners in the series finale, put runners at first and third with one out in the top of the fourth, but Bilgri came on in relief of Mercer starter Jill McElderry to escape the jam with a ground out and strikeout.

The Bears evened the game in the bottom of the fourth as Carolina Taylor belted a solo homer to center field, her second home run of the weekend, with two outs in the inning.

Bilgri (10-8) took the loss for Mercer after allowing just one run on two hits in 3.2 innings of work. She walked one and fanned one.

Furman won 14 of its final 17 regular season games and claimed victories in four of its last five SoCon series. The only series loss came at Chattanooga after the Mocs captured the opening game and the final two contests were cancelled due to inclement weather.