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Paladins Open SoCon Softball Championship Play Versus ETSU On Wednesday

Hannah Reynolds
Hannah Reynolds

Furman vs. ETSU Game Notes

Greenville, S.C. -- Furman begins its quest for a league title and NCAA Tournament berth when the second-seeded Paladins take on No. 6 seed ETSU in the 2018 Southern Conference Softball Championship first round on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C.

The contest, set to be played at UNCG Softball Stadium, will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network with live statistics available through StatBroadcast. Links for both can be found at FurmanPaladins.com.

The Paladins, 38-13 on the season and ranked No. 71 in the latest NCAA RPI, enter Wednesday's first round of the double elimination tournament having won 14 of their last 17 games. Furman swept three games versus the Bucs in the regular season at Pepsi Stadium April 7-8. Hannah Reynolds belted a walk-off homer in a 3-2 victory in game one before Lindsey Bert triggered the mercy rule with a grand slam to give the Paladins an 11-2 win in game two. Senior AnnaRose Borrelli homered twice, including a walk-off clout in the seventh inning, to propel the Paladins to a sweep in the series finale.

ETSU, 16-25 on the season, holds a 25-20 series lead in 25 previous meetings with the Paladins and are the defending SoCon Tournament champions. The two teams have met just twice in postseason play with Furman winning both meetings.

Furman's offense finished the regular season with a league-leading 10 triples and 53 home runs in 51 games. Borrelli and Reynolds, both second team All-SoCon picks, posted 12 and 10 home runs, respectively, while senior Caroline Cash ranked among the national leaders with six triples. Bert added a team-best 15 doubles and seven homers.

The Paladin pitching staff enters tournament play with a 2.37 ERA and a league-best 366 strikeouts in 343 innings of work. Bert earned SoCon Pitcher of the Year honors after going 25-8 with a 1.58 ERA and nation-leading 317 strikeouts. Junior Emily DeMonte joined Bert in earning first team All-SoCon honors by posting a 13-3 record and 3.09 ERA in the circle and .299 batting average with four homers at the plate.

The winner of Wednesday's game will face either No. 2 seed Mercer or No. 7 seed Western Carolina at 3 p.m. on Thursday. The loser will take on the Bears-Catamounts loser at 10:00 a.m. Thursday in an elimination contest.

All games in the SoCon Softball Championship will be streamed on the SoCon Digital Network with the exception of the championship contest on Saturday afternoon, which will air on ESPN+. The Paladins are seeking their third SoCon title and second NCAA berth. Furman last captured the title at UNCG Softball Stadium in 2007.