2004 Big South Softball Tournament, presented by Aeropostale Game #5
BIRMINGHAM, AL - No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina got an RBI single from Kelly Feely and a sacrifice fly RBI from Kristina Sheppard to highlight a three-run fourth as the Chanticleers capitalized on the lone Winthrop miscue and downed the Eagles 3-1 late Thursday night. The contest was the nightcap of day one of the 2004 Big South Conference Softball Tournament presented by Aeropostale, which was dampened by rain and delayed a sum total of two hours and 41 minutes thanks to two separate rain delays during the day.
Coastal Carolina (27-27) moves on to the finals of the tournaments winners bracket in a 7 p.m. CST Friday night match up against top seed and defending champion Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Second-seeded Winthrop next plays fourth seed Radford in the losers bracket at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Winthrop (39-23-1) got on the board first after Janiva Willis scored due to a Sheppard error in the third. Willis, a first team All-Conference selection, doubled to set up the play. She finished 1-for-3 with a run scored for the Eagles. Coastal jumped on the opportunity provided by Winthrop pitcher Kelli Johnson in the fourth. Johnsons toss to first-baseman Catherine Cashion with two on and no one out sailed wide, setting up Sheppards sac-fly and the Feely RBI single two batters later. Two of Coastals runs were unearned.
Brittany Nelson (13-13) gave up six hits and one unearned run in seven innings, striking out two and walking none to earn the win for the Chanticleers. Johnson struck out four and walked two while giving up just three hits in the losing effort.
The game featured several sparkling defensive plays by both teams, including a diving catch of a Trish Kretchman line drive by Winthrops Caryn Little to end the fourth, and a rare third baseman to shortstop line drive in the top of the fifth. Delane Oscarson drove one just over the head of Winthrop third baseman Lindsey Merriman, who got a glove on the ball, but watched it fall behind her. Eagle shortstop Stephanie Turney saved the day, however, diving in for the catch. Coastals Kelly Felly recorded a 9-2 double play in the second inning, catching a line drive and gunning a tagging Laura Hill out at the plate.
We stepped up and made a couple pretty nice plays, Coastal Carolina head coach Jess Dannelly said. We made some adjustments again, and found a way to score a couple of runs.
That was a great ballgame, Winthrop head coach Mark Cooke said. We both made great defensive plays, both pitchers hit the ball well, but they hit the ball when they had to. That was a great college ballgame right there. You cant take anything away from either team tonight.