Maryville College Softball advances through the first round of the USA South Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday, as the Scots swept Berea in back-to-back games.
MC downed the Mountaineers, 8-1, in the day's opening game, as they fought off numerous Berea rallies for an 8-6 final in game two.
The win earns the Scots a bye in the first round in LaGrange, Ga. The Scots will play the winners of the 10:00 a.m. game at 2:00 p.m.
Sixth-seeded Meredith College also earns a bye in the first round, after they upended top-ranked N.C. Wesleyan College from the Eastern Division.
Ballard, Gordon, Brewer lead Scots past Berea, 8-1
Maryville College cruised to victory in the first game of the day, as Reid Ballard's two-run homer aided the Scots for an 8-1 win.
Reigning USA South Pitcher of the Year Katlyn Smith was stellar inside the circle, as she earned her 17th win of the season. The sophomore struck out 14 Mountaineers, as she allowed just four hits, one earned run and one walk.
MC struck first in the opening inning, as an Essence Strambler single to left-center and a Taylor Campbell single put a pair of runners on. Ballard walked to load the bases, before Gordon earned the RBI with a fielder's choice, plating Strambler for a 1-0 lead.
The Scots added to that in the second following an Ashton Hayden walk. Alexus Murray singled to right, advancing Hayden to third. An errant throw on the play allowed the center fielder to score for a 2-0 advantage.
MC plated four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a commanding 6-0 lead. Ballard drew a walk, as pinch runner Christina White stole second and advanced to third on an error. Gordon plated her with an RBI single to right-center, before Christen Torres singled up the middle. Pinch runner Grace Gordon advanced to third, scoring on an errant throw. Brewer tripled down the right-field line, scoring pinch runner Gabrielle Rathmell, before Brewer scored on a wild pitch.
Berea goat a run back in the top of the sixth, as Ashley Spencer singled to center. A wild pitch moved her to second, before Abby Nash's double down the left-field line scored her for a 6-1 score.
The Scots plated a pair in the bottom of the inning on Ballard's two-run blast, making the final 8-1. Campbell scored on the play.
Maryville College was led by Ballard who went 1-for-2 with two RBI, two walks and a run. Brewer was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, as Sarah Gordon went 1-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Campbell was 1-for-2 with a run, as Strambler, Alexus Murray and Torres had one-hit nights. Strambler, White, Grace Gordon, Rathmell and Hayden each scored a run for the Scots.
Berea College saw Spencer go 2-for-3 with a run, while Nash was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Torres' homer, Smith's relief downs Berea, 8-6
Maryville College fought off a pair of three-run innings in the second game, rallying to defeat Berea College, 8-6, for the sweep.
Both Brewer and Hayden went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, as Torres was 1-for-4 with a home run. She had two RBI and a run.
Smith earned her second victory of the series, moving her season total to 18. She pitched 5.1 innings of relief, striking out nine. The sophomore gave up just three hits and a walk in keeping the Mountaineers off the board.
MC took a 1-0 lead after the top of the first. An error and a Strambler single put runners on, as Campbell looped a single to left. Her RBI scored Murray for the one-run lead.
That advantage didn't last long, however, as the Mountaineers scored three in the bottom of the inning. A hit-by-pitch and a single put runners aboard, as Nash found an RBI single through the right side. She scored Spencer, before Kendra Hubbard's double to left-center scored Audreonna Lindsey from third. Savannah Fallis used a sacrifice fly to center to score Nash for a 3-1 Berea lead.
MC regained the lead in the top of the second, putting together a three-run inning of their own. Casey Joliff singled to left center, as White – a pinch runner – scored from first on a Brewer RBI single to left. Brewer scored on a wild pitch, before Campbell pushed Hayden home with an RBI single through the right side. After the top of the second, MC led 4-3.
The Mountaineers would again hang three in the bottom of the inning. A two-out rally saw Spencer single through the left side and steal second. Jacqui Howard doubled to plate the freshman, before Lindsey's RBI double scored Howard. Nash found her third RBI of the day with a single to center for a 6-4 score.
Torres knotted things at 6-all with one swing in the top of the third. She towered a home run over the scoreboard at the Alcoa High School field, scoring pinch runner Grace Gordon. That hit left the game tied until the fifth inning.
Brewer doubled through the right side with two outs, before Hayden's RBI single scored her. Murray would score Hayden from first with an RBI single down the left-field line, as the Scots took the win, 8-6.
Maryville College (25-9) saw Brewer and Hayden both go perfect. Torres added in her homer, as Campbell went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Strambler was 2-for-5, while Murray went 1-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Ballard, Joliff and Sarah Gordon had one-hit nights in the Scots' 15-hit attack, as Grace Gordon and White scored a run each.
Berea College (13-25) saw Spencer go 2-for-3 with a pair of rungs, and Lindsey go 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Nash was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run, while Howard went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.