VIDEO: Postgame Press Conference
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Armstrong State (31-12) carried a no-hitter into fifth and induced a bevy of groundball outs to oust Carson-Newman (43-13) from the NCAA Southeast Regional Friday afternoon at the Armstrong Softball Field.
Armstrong State pitcher Tori Bates improved to 4-1 with the win and got Carson-Newman to record 18 of the 21 outs on ground balls.
C-N only hit three balls to the outfield in the air, an Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) base knock off the wall in right in the fifth, a Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) foul out down the left field line in the fourth and the final out of the game, an Allison Webster (Charlestown, Ind.) fly out to the wall in right.
"It was a hard fought game and I have to complement our opponent," head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said. "Armstrong did a great job and especially Tori in the circle. We had to battle, but we fell short. We were excited to be here with as many freshmen as we started. They got to see what it's like and what making the tournament is all about, but you can't ignore our upperclassmen and the leadership and guidance that they provided."
Carson-Newman closes the year with 43 victories, the second most wins in school history.
Armstrong struck first, taking advantage of base runners in the second. A walk for Jane Trazska and a double to right center for Autumn Parrish gave the Pirates a pair of base runners in scoring position with no one out.
Hannah Reppert bounced a ball up the middle for an RBI single and Macy Coleman followed suit with an identical play to give the Pirates a 2-0 advantage.
Kristen Toppel (Roanoke, Va.) snared a line drive and turned a 6-3 double play to get the Eagles out of the inning before any more damage could be done.
Armstrong padded its lead two innings later. Parrish tallied her second hit of the day with a gap shot to left center to lead off the inning.
Reppert then went opposite field off a 3-1 pitch with a fly ball down the right field line that cleared the fence to give Armstrong its first home run of the Southeast Region tournament. The Pirates have hit the second most home runs of any team in NCAA Division II this season.
The Eagles broke up Armstrong's no-hitter and shutout the next half inning. Cheyenne Boles (Knoxville, Tenn.) nipped a one-out single to short, then Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) drove in the runner with single that bounced off the wall in right to make it 4-1.
C-N had runners on base in both the sixth and seventh innings, but never could get the timely base knock to draw closer. C-N left five runners stranded on the day to Armstrong's six.
Rinus took the loss to drop to 26-7 to close the year. She pitched the game's first three innings. The freshman surrendered seven hits and four runs. She walked one and struck out two.
Webster clamped down on things to close the game. The senior finished out her Carson-Newman career with three innings of shutout ball. She struck out three and allowed three hits.
Armstrong advances to face Young Harris in another elimination game Friday evening. The winner of that game plays Pfeiffer Saturday for the right to advance to the Super Regional.
For offseason updates on Carson-Newman softball, check cneagles.com regular and follow @Cnathletics and @cnsball on Twitter.