Saturday, May 10, 2003CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (May 10, 2003) - Freshman Janine Sprague (Hillsborough, N.C.) ignited the East Tennessee State offense as fifth-seeded ETSU eliminated top-seeded College of Charleston, 2-0, in the semifinal game of the 2003 Southern Conference softball championships being played at Frost Stadium in Chattanooga. With the win, East Tennessee State advances to face the Lady Mocs in the championship game of the tournament.
East Tennessee State dominated the Cougars in the tournament, having beaten them in a second round match up on May 9, 5-3, a game in which ETSU's Danielle Spetar (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth inning to lead the Bucs over the Cougars. This game started with East Tennessee State striking early, scoring their first run in the bottom of the first. Sprague's base hit started the inning followed by a Cougar error allowing the run to score. With the run, the Cougars replaced starting pitcher Rachel Stern with Natalie Smith. Stern was unable to hold the Bucs in check, allowing three hits.
The Bucs scored again in the bottom of the fourth, as pitcher Tiffany McVay (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.) took a Natalie Smith offering over the left field fence. College of Charleston threatened in the top of the fifth inning, but did not score while stranding two on base. Charleston had five hits in the game, but stranded seven on base. East Tennessee State was able to convert two runs on their five hits.
This marks the first time in SoCon Tournament history that the number one seed failed to reach the championship game. With the win, McVay improves her season record to 13-9. Rachel Stern suffered the loss for the Cougars, ending her season 26-5.
College of Charleston ends its season at 45-11 and East Tennessee State, now 27-25, moves on to face Chattanooga in the Southern Conference tournament finals at 12:15 pm on Saturday. As Chattanooga is undefeated thus far in the tournament, the Bucs must beat the Mocs in two consecutive games to claim the championship.
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