Furman 1, Samford 0
ETSU 4, Furman 1 (8 innings)
Greensboro, N.C. -- Cammy Pereira's walk-off single in the seventh lifted Furman to a 1-0 victory over Samford, but ETSU downed the Paladins, 4-1, to eliminate the purple and white from the Southern Conference Softball Championship in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday evening.
With a trip to Saturday's SoCon championship round waiting for the winner, ETSU's Taylor Wright lined a three-run double into the right-center field gap with two outs in the top of the eighth inning to propel the Bucs into the title game for the second straight season.
Furman (41-15) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Hannah Reynolds belted a solo home run down the left field line for her 11th long ball of the year. ETSU answered the following inning as Tiffany Laughren doubled, moved to third base on an error and scored on Kelsey Chernak's sacrifice fly to right field.
The Paladins had their chance to punch their ticket to the championship round in the bottom of the seventh when Reynolds drew a leadoff walk and pinch runner Caroline Nageotte was sacrificed to second, but ETSU starter Madison Ogle got Pereira to foul out and caught Caroline Cash looking at strike three to end the inning.
In the eighth, a leadoff single and two failed attempts at force outs that turned into fielder's choices with one out loaded the bases for the Bucs. Reliever Emily DeMonte induced a grounder to first base that AnnaRose Borrelli fired home for the second out of the inning before Wright broke the tie with her three-run double into the gap.
Ogle (13-13) limited Furman to a run on five hits over eight innings to earn the win. She fanned seven batters and issued just two walks. Laughren went 2-for-4 at the plate, while Kylie Tolar finished 2-for-3 for ETSU.
DeMonte (13-4) took the loss for the Paladins after allowing three runs on four hits in three innings in the circle. Starter Lindsey Bert gave up just one unearned run on three hits in five innings in her final appearance as a Paladin. The left-hander fanned four batters without allowing a walk and collected one of Furman's five hits.
In the Paladins' first game of the day, Periera delivered a walk-off single over the center fielder's head with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to hand Furman a 1-0 victory over Samford that eliminated the Bulldogs from tournament play.
Reynolds opened the seventh with a single up the middle and moved to second base on Candace Johnson's bunt single. After Emma Ogburn popped out, Cash worked a walk to load the bases with one out. Pereira pinch hit for Lauren Duggar and lofted a fly ball to the base of the center field wall on a two-strike pitch to pick up the walk-off single.
Bert earned the victory to improve to 28-9 in the circle after holding the Bulldogs to just four hits in a complete-game four-hit shutout. She struck out eight batters without issuing a walk to pick up her school-record 14th shutout of the season.
Samford's Taylor DeCelles (9-13) took the loss despite allowing just one run on five hits in 6.1 innings of work for the Bulldogs.
Furman's 41 wins during the 2018 season mark the second most in school history.
Lauren Lee, ETSU, Fr., OF
Madison Ogle, ETSU, Sr., P
Kylie Toler, ETSU, So., IF
Taylor Wright, ETSU, Jr., IF
Lindsey Bert, Furman, Sr., P
Caroline Taylor, Mercer, RSr., 1B
Ryan Brzozoski, Samford, Fr., UT
Alicia Bazonski, UNCG, Sr., P
Rachael McClaskey, UNCG, Sr., SS
Marisa Sholtes, UNCG, RJr., 1B