Friday, May 14, 2004CHATTANOOGA, TN -- Junior hurler Rachael Stern threw a complete-game shutout while Leshe Russell and Katie Ballard combined for five hits and five RBI to lead second-seeded College of Charleston to a 7-0 victory over sixth-seeded East Tennessee State in the 2004 SoCon Softball Championships. Stern had the Bucs’ hitters stymied for most of the afternoon, scattering just two hits while striking out five. With the win, Stern improved to 21-9 on the year. The Cougars got on the board first with a pair of runs in the third inning. Ballard got the inning started with a single up the middle, and she advanced to second when Natalie Smith was hit by a pitch. Ballard advanced to third on a Leshe Russell flyout, and Brooke Flowers then drove in Ballard for the game’s first run with a deep foul out to left field. Smith came around to score from first base on a fielding error on Mary Beth Hazelwood (Knoxville, Tenn.), the Bucs’ shortstop. Ballard drove in Charleston’s third run in the top of the fourth inning. Darcy Johnson reached on a fielders’ choice and came around to score when Ballard hit a double to the left-centerfield wall. Charleston upped its lead in the sixth inning when Ballard ripped a run-scoring single to right field, bringing home Johnson. Later in the inning, Russell belted her 10th home run of the season, a three-run shot that gave the Cougars their winning margin, 7-0. Janine Sprague (Hillsborough, N.C.) and Lindsay Lane (Erwin, Tenn.) each picked up a hit for the Bucs. Belinda Barrera (Fayetteville, N.C.) was credited with the loss, falling to 10-15 on the season. Charleston (42-21, 14-6) advances to play Chattanooga, who downed Elon 11-1, on Saturday at 3:30. ETSU (29-33, 8-13) will play Appalachian State at 12:30 in Saturday’s second elimination game.
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