BOONE, N.C. - Late-inning home runs by Amanda Lonergan and Hope Klicker accounted for five RBIs and lifted the third-seeded College of Charleston softball team to a come-from-behind victory over sixth-seed Western Carolina in the opening round of the Southern Conference Championships at Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium on Wednesday night.
"We're pretty excited for this win," said head coach Shelly Hoerner. "We talked about staying the course and finishing every game. Anything can happen at any given time. I knew we'd come through at some point in the game. We made some key plays and strung hits together. Obviously the home runs help, but we strung hits together and executed when we needed to.
"We'll come to the field with a clear mind tomorrow and see what we can do to continue on in the tournament."
Lonergan's (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) three-run bomb erased a 2-1 Catamount lead in the bottom of the sixth inning and Klicker's (Walla Walla, Wash.) two-run shot two batters later put the Cougars further ahead and solidified the victory.
Klicker also earned the win in the pitching circle after she began pitching with no outs in the fifth inning and limited the Catamounts to one hit and no runs while striking out three.
With the win, the Cougars will see second-seed Chattanooga in the second round of the double-elimination tournament on Thursday, May 10 at 5 p.m.
WCU only needed one hit in the second to score the game's first run which they got from leadoff hitter Amber Steinhardt. The Cougars then committed a throwing error on the Catamounts' sacrifice bunt attempt and back-to-back walks brought Steinhardt to the plate.
The Catamounts added to their lead in the third inning with three seeing-eye singles which all unfortunately found holes through the Cougar infield. Kelly Braman started the inning with a ground ball through the right side and Haley Pace and Heather Chastain got grounders through the left side to bring Braman around to score.
CofC was quiet until the sixth inning when WCU granted them two base runners off a fielding error and hit-by-pitch. The Cougars ensured their mistakes did not go unpunished with an RBI single up the middle by Mackenzie Maples (Corona, Calif.) followed by Lonergan's towering shot which sliced to her opposite field and cleared the fence in left center with ease.
After Lizzy Vaughn (Placerville, Calif.) drew a walk, Klicker homered on a line drive to centerfield to make the game 6-2 which would be the eventual final.