Maryville College's Christen Torres blasted a two-run laser to left-center in the top of the second inning, as the senior shortstop proved to be the difference over St. Vincent College.
The Scots advance on the second day of the NCAA Regionals in Greencastle, Ind., taking down the Bearcats in a 5-3 contest.
"This is a survive and advance moment, and that's a senior not wanting her senior season to end," Head Coach Leah Kelley said. "Big players like that step up in big moments, and we've been looking for that all year. What a time for her to shine for us."
MC advances to face off with No. 16 DePauw University – currently underway – in the Scots' second elimination game of the day. Live stats and video are available for the contest.
Yesterday, Maryville College fell in heartbreaking fashion to No. 19 Trine University, 4-3, on a seventh-inning rally by the Thunder.
Today, however, sophomore hurler Katlyn Smith shut down the final dozen batters she faced, leaving no doubt for the Scots. The reigning USA South Pitcher of the Year four of the final 12.
"It's huge, because she's pitching a ton for us right now," Kelley said. "We've talked to her about being more efficient with her pitches, so she's limiting that pitch count. Obviously, we're trying to play out of the loser's bracket, so right now, that's what she's focusing on. She's limiting her pitches. Yesterday, she said she's trusting her defense. She's trusting her defense to make the plays behind her. She' doesn't have to pitch perfect, it just has to be effective and efficient."
In yesterday's loss to No. 19 Trine University, Smith pitched 170 total pitches. She walked 10 batters, while giving up a pair of hit-by-pitch.
Today, however, Smith limited her pitch count to 124 pitches – 75 of those going for strikes. She gave up just four walks, while striking out nine batters.
With those strikeouts, Smith surpassed Wall of Fame member Donna Clancy's 313 career strikeouts.
Smith now has 319 for her career – 196 of those coming during this campaign.
MC's defense backed her without a single error. The Scots outhit St. Vincent, 6-3, as both Torres and Campbell tallied two-RBI performances proving Maryville is playing by their 'family' mentality.
"Everybody had each other's back today," Kelley said. "It wasn't the prettiest victory we've had all year – by no means a dynamic performance on defense, offense or pitching. But the thing about this sport is that it's a team sport. When something's not working right, you've just got to back each other up and hold on. That's one thing I saw today. We just fought for each other. We're not playing perfect, but we've got to fight. I'm proud of my girls for that."
Maryville struck first in the bottom of the second, as Sarah Gordon reached on a fielding error. Torres' two-run blast left the park quick to left-center, plating pinch-runner Ashleigh Geary for a 2-0 Scots' lead.
The Bearcats cut the Scots' lead in half in the bottom of the second, however, taking advantage of three walks. Riley Assalone singled to lead off the inning, before three walks allowed Sydney Gurneal to earn the RBI. The bases-loaded walk scored Assalone for a 2-1 score through two innings.
Maryville rallied again in the top of the third, as Ashton Hayden singled to left. She promptly stole second, advancing to third on a wild pitch. Christina White walked and put a pair of runners in scoring position with a steal of her own, before Campbell two-RBI single to center scored the speedsters. Back-to-back singles by Reid Ballard and Sarah Gordon plated pinch runner Grace Gordon for a 5-1 Scots' lead.
Alona Slieth cut MC's lead in half again in the bottom of the inning, blasting a two-run homer to left-center to score Lauren Miller for a 5-3 score. Both pitchers dueled it out the rest of the way.
Smith allowed a leadoff single in the fourth, before shutting down the next dozen Bearcats for her 22nd win of the year.
Maryville College (29-10) was led by Torres who went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI and a run, as Campbell was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Ballard and Sarah Gordon was 1-for-3, while Sarah Gordon added an RBI, while Hayden was 1-for-3 with a run. Alexus Murray was 1-for-4, as White, Grace Gordon and Geary each scored a run.
St. Vincent College (29-16) was led by Sleith who went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI and a run. Assalone was also 1-for-3 with a run in the game.