SAVANNAH, Ga. - The lower seeded teams prevailed on the first day of action at the 2017 NCAA Division II Softball Southeast Regional #2 on Thursday as sixth-seeded Young Harris downed third-seeded and host Armstrong State, 2-1, while seventh-seeded Pfeiffer beat second-seeded Carson-Newman, 7-4, in nine innings.
Friday's second day of action will feature Young Harris (43-12) and Pfeiffer (45-6) at 11 a.m. in a matchup of the two winners, while Armstrong State (30-12) and Carson-Newman (43-12) will battle in an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. The loser of the first game and the winner of the second game will meet in another elimination game at 4 p.m., leaving two teams for championship Saturday.
In the first game of the day, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead on sophomore Macy Coleman's RBI single in the third inning. Senior Jane Trzaska cruised through five no-hit innings for the Pirates, but in the sixth inning, a two-out RBI double by Jill Torres tied the game at 1-all for the Mountain Lions.
Young Harris loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the seventh and Chandler Stooksbury greeted Armstrong State reliever Tori Bates with an RBI single to give the Mountain Lions the 2-1 lead. Bates escaped the bases-loaded jam with no further damage, keeping it a one-run game in the seventh.
Katie Collins laced a two-out double to left center field in the bottom of the seventh, but Young Harris pitcher Nikkie Kovalsky (24-7) got the final out to pick up the win for the Mountain Lions.
Kovalsky hurled seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball, walking three while striking out two. Trzaska (14-7) took the loss for the Pirates, giving up three hits and two runs in six-plus innings, walking five while striking out three.
In game two, Pfeiffer got a solo home run from Vada Blue Sherrill and a two-run shot from Kiana Millsaps in the top of the first to take an early 3-0 lead, but Carson-Newman got a two-run home run from Abby Fiessinger and a solo shot from Kristen Toppel in the third inning to tie the game up at three.
The score remained tied until the seventh, when Pfeiffer's Makenzie Pennell launched a solo shot to put the Falcons up, 4-3. Carson-Newman loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh and tied the game when Toppel was hit by a pitch.
Pfeiffer won the contest in the ninth, getting a two-run single from Millsaps and an RBI fielder's choice from Chandler Walker for the decisive three runs.
Caitlin Christian (13-2) hurled 6 2/3 innings in two separate stints in the game, giving up four hits and three runs, walking one whlie striking out three to pick up the win. Lacy Rinus (26-6) went the distance for the Eagles, giving up seven hits and seven runs - five earned - in nine innings, walking six and striking out six in a 172-pitch effort.
Millsaps finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBI to lead the Falcons, while Toppel's two hits and two RBI led Carson-Newman.