For the second straight weekend, the Emory softball team fought off two elimination games to continue its run in the NCAA Tournament. Down 1-0 in a best-of-three-series to host Lynchburg, the Eagles came through with a pair of come-from-behind victories on Saturday, 9-5 in the first contest and 10-8 in the winner-take-all finale. Emory now advances to next week's NCAA D-III Championships at Suddenlink Field on the campus of UT-Tyler. Action begins on Thursday with the opponent and time to be announced at a later date.
Emory will head into the Championships with an overall record of 36-12. The Eagles will be making the program's fifth-ever appearance in the Championships and first since the 2016 campaign.
Emory 9, Lynchburg 5
* Emory finishes with 14 hits, its second-highest output of the year
* Freshman Mattie Ryan goes 3-for-4 at the plate with one run score d and one RBI while senior shortstop Cassie Baca hits safely twice while totaling three RBIs.
* The Eagles receive two hits each from junior Sarah Katz and Greta Wilker while six different players knock in runs.
* Emory erases a 3-2 deficit with a seven-run explosion in the top of the sixth – freshman Megan Weisenberg starts the rally with a pinch-hit two-run single that gives the Eagles a 4-3 edge.
* Staying in the sixth, after a bases-loaded single by Katz pushed Emory ahead, 5-3, a clutch two-bagger by Baca results in two more runs crossing the plate. RBI singles by junior Sami Feller and Ryan account for the rest of the inning's scoring.
* Emory faced a 3-1 hole heading into the top of the fourth before a pinch-hit single by junior Jessy McLean scored pinch runner Mallory Nolen, cutting Lynchburg's advantage in half
* The Hornets score twice in the bottom of the sixth but senior Toko Miller quells any further danger by tossing 1 2/3 innings of hitless ball.
* Sophomore Madison Schaefer raised her record to 18-4 after coming in relief of starter Madeline Maday, tossing three frames, allowing three runs and six hits.
Emory 10, Lynchburg 8
* Emory chalks up its 19 outing of the season with 10 or more hits, rapping out 11 safeties
* Baca has a huge game for the Eagles with three hits (18th multi-hit game of season) and four RBIs.
* Ryan pounds out a pair of hits and knocks in two runs, her 10th multi-RBI performance of the season.
* Feller and Wilker contribute to the cause with two hits and one RBI apiece.
* The Eagles tack up one run in the second after a leadoff walk by Feller is followed by a double from Wilker.
* Lynchburg responds by scoring six runs, three of which are earned, in its half of the second.
* However, the Eagles chip away at the Hornets lead, crossing the plate twice in the fourth, highlighted by an RBI single from Ryan.
* Emory ties the game in its next at-bat, stringing together four straight two-out hits. With Jenna Wilson on third and Katz on second, Baca slashes a two-run single and eventually ends up on third as a result of a fielding error. Feller then singles up the middle, plating Baca with the tying run.
* Emory continues to keep the pressure on the Hornets' pitching staff with three more runs in the sixth – a bases-loaded walk to Katz scores senior Sam Vincent, providing Emory with a 7-6 edge, while another timely two-run single by Baca pushes the Eagles to a 9-6 cushion.
* Ryan accounts for Emory's final run when she leads off the seventh with her fourth homer of the season.
* Lynchburg mounts one last charge in its final trip to the plate, scoring two runs and having the tying run on second base with two out before Schaefer gets Carol Oberhelma to line out to Katz at second to end the game.
* Maday logs her eighth win of the year in 12 decisions after throwing four strong innings of relief that saw her allow two runs and two hits while fanning one.
NOTES – Cassie Baca is named the Super Regional Most Outstanding Player while Schaefer is tabbed as the Outstanding Pitcher … The Eagles hit .358 over the three games and are led by Baca's .583 (7-of12) effort at the plate … Katz hits .500 on the strength of five hits in 10 plate appearances.