GREENSBORO, N.C. (May 11, 2018) – Coming off its thrilling nine-inning win over second-seeded Mercer on Thursday night, ETSU softball moves on to face top-seeded and tournament host UNCG on Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Championship. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m., from UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Bucs secured their sixth straight SoCon Tournament win on Thursday en route to improving to 18-25 on the season. ETSU, winners of five straight games, are looking to advance to the conference title game for the second straight season, while also eyeing to becoming the third team in SoCon history to repeat as conference champions.
After knocking off third-seeded Furman on Wednesday and then second-seeded Mercer on Thursday, ETSU gets its chance to take down two-time reigning regular season champion UNCG on Friday.
The Spartans, who won a rain-shortened series over the Bucs in Johnson City during the regular season, moved into Friday’s semifinal following a 4-1 win over No. 4 Chattanooga on Thursday. UNCG enters Friday’s game with an overall record of 44-11, while winning 17 of its last 20 games. The Spartans won 23 of their 26 games at home this season.
UNCG leads the all-time series, 23-7, while winning 18 of the last 21 games. The Bucs defeated the Spartans 9-7 in game two of last year’s series in Greensboro. Friday marks the fifth all-time meeting between the two teams in the SoCon Tournament with UNCG taking three of the previous four games. ETSU beat the Spartans 4-3 in 2002.
The two meetings in the regular season were tightly contested with ETSU holding UNCG to three runs on seven hits in 14 innings. The Bucs dropped a 1-0 decision in game one and a 2-0 decision in game two.
Red-shirt senior Kelsey Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.) is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with one double, two walks, and two RBI in seven career games against UNCG, while junior outfielder Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) is 8-for-18 (.444) with two doubles, one home run, eight walks, two runs and five RBI in eight games versus the Spartans. Senior Kelsey Smith (Tucson, Ariz.) has nine hits in 11 starts all-time against UNCG with one home run, two walks, three RBI and four runs scored. Senior Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.) held the Spartans to one run on three hits with six strikeouts in seven innings in the 1-0 game one setback this season, while sophomore Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.) tossed seven innings of two-run ball in game two.
The winner of Friday’s game advances to Saturday’s championship game, and will await the winning team to advance from the elimination bracket. The losing team from Friday’s game will take on the winner of Furman/Mercer-Samford at 5:30 p.m.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball link.