Eagles take tight contest with Queens to advance in winner’s bracket

HARTSVILLE, S.C. -  The lower half of Carson-Newman's (40-11) lineup came through with a slew of clutch hits to move on in the winner's bracket in the opening round of the 2017 South Atlantic Conference Softball Tournament. 

The top-seeded Eagles knocked off Queens 4-3.  With the victory, Carson-Newman has 40 wins in a season for the first time since 2008.

KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) went 2-for-2 with an RBI.  Allison Webster (Charlestown, Ind.) had a 2-for-3 effort with run batted in as well. 

Lacie Rinus pitched the Eagles to the win.  She struck out seven and walked two.  Rinus also had a multi-hit effort at the plate. 

Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) and Katie Pritchett (Ringgold, Ga.) drove in the other runs for  the Eagles.

Carson-Newman took advantage of a Queens miscue to grab the lead in the first.  Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) reached on a booted ball by the shortstop before Rinus singled with two out. 

KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) took advantage of the situation by blooping a ball down the leftfield line that plated Scott for an unearned run.  The Eagles were unable to do further damage, however, and left the bases loaded with a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles added to that lead in the second.  Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) drilled her fourth bomb of the year.  It was the third leadoff dinger for Carson-Newman this season. 

The moonshot gave C-N a 2-0 lead. 

Queens evened things up in the top of the fourth all with two out.  Brooke Sanford singled through the right side.  A hit batsman and base on balls loaded things up.  Then Sydney Ditto ripped a sinker to right that plated two to even the score. 

The Eagles quickly grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the fourth.  Cooper worked a one-out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch.  Allison Webster (Charlestown, Ind.) singled to center to drive her in a put C-N up 3-2. The Eagles got a single from Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) and moved two base runners into scoring position on a wild pitch.  However, Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) missed a home run by a couple feet and flied out to left to end the inning. 

The Eagles' lead was short-lived.  Abby Lathan cranked a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield pitch to tie it up at three apiece in the top of the fifth. 

Carson-Newman quickly retook the lead though.  A Rinus single followed by a Levi sacrifice gave the Eagles a runner in scoring position with one out.  Katie Pritchett (Ringgold, Ga.) came through with a clutch single to center to plate Rinus and put the Eagles up 4-3. 

Queens managed to get the tying run on with one out in the seventh, but Rinus induced back-to-back flyouts to cement the win. 

Rinus improved to 23-5 with the win. 

Courtney Pearson was hit with the loss.  She falls to 14-17 on the year.  Pearson allowed nine hits. She gave up four runs, but three were earned.  Pearson struck out three and walked two. 

Carson-Newman advances to a noon game Friday against the winner of Coker's matchup with Anderson.  The Royals face the loser of that contest in an elimination game.