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ETSU to play for another SoCon softball title

Johnson City Press • Updated May 11, 2018 at 9:21 PM

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A three-run eighth inning kept the East Tennessee State softball team’s season alive, and now the Bucs will be playing for another Southern Conference championship.

Taylor Wright’s three-run single in the eighth inning was the key hit as the Bucs beat Furman 4-1 in the loser’s bracket final of the SoCon tournament Friday night.

The sixth-seeded Bucs had earlier dropped a 6-3 decision to No. 1 UNC Greensboro after falling behind 6-0.

ETSU (19-26) will take on UNCG (45-11) in Saturday’s championship game beginning at 1 p.m. The Bucs will have to win twice to repeat as champions.

The winner earns the SoCon’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth.

After Hannah Reynolds’ solo homer in the fourth gave the Paladins the lead, Kelsey Chernak’s sacrifice fly in the fifth evened things up.

Madison Ogle (13-13) pitched all eight innings, holding the Paladins to five hits. Tiffany Laughren and Kylie Toler each had two hits for ETSU.

In the loss to UNCG, Toler sparked a late-inning comeback by hitting a three-run home run in the top of the seventh. Nikki Grupp came to bat as the tying run and with runners on first and second. Grupp hit a liner down the right field line. UNCG’s Alexis Overdiep make a game-ending diving catch, which robbed the Bucs’ third baseman of extra bases and her team of two runs.

Toler’s home run was her first of the season and second of her career. Both of them came in the SoCon tournament. Overall, the Bucs finished with six hits. Laughren had two hits for her sixth multi-hit game of the year.

Freshman Lauren Lee extended her hit streak to six games after reaching via a third-inning single, while Wright reached base twice (single and hit by pitch).

The Bucs, who had their five-game SoCon tournament winning streak snapped, suffered their first setback in the event since falling to Chattanooga on May 13, 2016.

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