GREENSBORO, N.C. - After going 10 scoreless innings, Georgia Southern's Kourtny Thomas hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 11th to win the 2013 SoCon Championship against UNCG. The Spartans hosted the tournament and suffered their second loss in the title game after falling in the 2010 SoCon title against Elon.
The Spartans finish the 2013 campaign with a 39-19 record, earning the most victories since the 2003 season. Georgia Southern improves to 32-28 and wins the SoCon title for the second-straight season. It ties the longest SoCon Tournament game and it is the second longest game in school history for UNCG after falling to Furman in 12 innings back in 2004.
Redshirt junior Raeanne Hanks (Rainier, Ore./Rainier Senior) was named SoCon Tournament Most Outstanding Player after 24.2 innings pitched, allowing one earned run with 20 strikeouts. Hanks went 24 straight innings without giving up an earned run until the 11th inning in the championship game.
Freshman Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) was named to the SoCon All-Tournament team.
UNCG had an opportunity in the first inning after junior Aisha Figueroa (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) singled to start the game. Figueroa stole second to earn her 22nd stole base of the season to set a new career high. With two outs, a pop up ended the inning keeping the Spartans off the board.
In the bottom of the fifth, Georgia Southern threatened to score after Katherine Johnson was thrown out on a ground ball to third. Johnson walked to start the frame and moved to second on a passed ball. A.J. Hamilton grounded out to move Johnson to third with one out. Gabrielle Story pinch-hit and hit a groundball to third when freshman Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas) fired home to nail Johnson keeping the game tied.
In extra innings, sophomore Dominique Madruga (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) started the eighth inning with an infield single. Vega laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Madruga to second with one out. After a line out, pinch-hitter Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) worked a two out walk to setup runners on first and second. Sarah Purvis ended the threat with a swinging strikeout to keep the game tied.
Be sure to follow all updates about the UNCG softball season on www.uncgspartans.com or on twitter @UNCGsports/@UNCGsoftball.
2013 SoCon All-Tournament Team
Most Outstanding Player
Shelby Scott, Samford
Ashton Jarrett, Collegeof Charleston
Kayla Shaffer, Samford
Hope Klicker, College of Charleston
Shelby Morrill, Georgia Southern
Brooke Red, Georgia Southern
Kourtny Thomas, Georgia Southern
Lindsay Thomas, UNCG
Sarah Purvis, Georgia Southern
Raeanne Hanks, UNCG
Raeanne Hanks, UNCG
UNCG/ WFMY News 2 Sports