Written by UNCG Sports Information Department:
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The UNCG softball team scored 12 runs on eight hits to run-rule Samford advancing to the SoCon Championship game Friday afternoon at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Spartans improve to 38-18 on the season and will play the winner of College of Charleston against Georgia Southern in the Championship game Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN 3. This will mark the second time UNCG has reached the SoCon Championship game after losing in the finals to Elon back in 2010.
Sophomore Erica Navarette (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills) pitched a complete game effort to improve to 10-7 throwing five innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts. Shelby Scott falls to 7-16 on the season after allowing four earned runs in three innings of work.
Freshman Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) finished the contest with a 3-for-3 effort, including two home runs and five RBI to pace the Spartans at the plate.
UNCG took an early 3-0 lead on three hits, including a two-run home run from senior Heather Robb (Apex, N.C./Middle Creek). Junior Aisha Figueroa (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) set the tone with a double down the left field line to start the game. Thomas picked up an RBI single to left centerfield to give the Spartans a 1-0 advantage. After an out, Robb blasted her fifth home run of the season to make it 3-0.
In the top of the second inning, the Spartans sent nine batters to the plate scoring five more runs that included a Thomas three-run bomb to deep centerfield to make it 6-0 UNCG. Sophomore Dominique Madruga (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) was hit by a pitch to start the frame. Freshman Allison Geiner (Raleigh, N.C./Middle Creek) beat out a bunt single to put runners on first and second with no outs. Figueroa moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. Thomas delivered her SoCon leading 16th home run and now has 44 RBI on the season. Senior Eileen Horsmon (Dunkirk, Md./Northern) earned an RBI double to left field to give UNCG a 7-0 lead. Pinch-hitter Toni MacReynolds (Vienna, Va./James Madison) lined a sacrifice fly to centerfield to push the Spartans advantage to 8-0.
In the top of the third inning, UNCG would score three more runs to take an 11-0 lead with Horsmon picking up two more RBI on a two-run single with the bases loaded. A couple of Samford miscues helped UNCG load the bases and freshman Chelsea Strandlund (Victoria, B.C./Lambrick Park) worked an RBI walk after pinch hitting in the inning.
Samford added two runs in the bottom of the third on three hits to end the shutout for UNCG. Abby Adams and Caroline Seay started the inning with back-to-back singles. A groundout by Megan Dowdy moved the runners to second and third with one out. Kayla Shaffer with a sacrifice fly to left field and Callie Brister singled up the middle to score the second run for the Bulldogs.
The Spartans scored their 12th run of the game with a solo home run from Thomas, her second of the game and 17th of the season.
Navarette finished the game with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fifth to seal the victory for the Spartans.
UNCG/ WFMY News 2 Sports