The Emory softball team fought off its third elimination game in two days on Monday, using a dramatic eighth-inning walk-off single by senior Cassie Baca to come away with a 5-4 victory over host Piedmont in the winner-take-all game of the NCAA Demorest Regional. The win boosts No. 18 Emory's record to 34-11 while the Lions closed out their season with a ledger of 31-12.
Emory now moves into the Super Regional of the Championships, travelling to Lynchburg College for a best-of-three series against the Hornets starting on Friday at 2:00 pm. Game two will take place on Saturday at 2:00 pm with a third game, if necessary, following shortly after.
Emory 5, Piedmont 4 (8 inn.)
* Emory and Piedmont combine for 23 hits with the Eagles pounding out 13 safeties to the Lions' 10.
* Freshman Mattie Ryan records her first career four-hit contest and totals one RBI while seniors Jenna Wilson and Cassie Baca each hit safely on three occasions. Both Wilson and Baca score once while Baca knocks in a pair of runs, her team-leading 10th game of two or more RBIs.
* Playing as the home team, Emory wipes out a 1-0 deficit in short order, scoring three times in the bottom of the first. Wilson leads off with a double and scampers around to score following a Baca single. With the bases loaded, Ryan singles to left which scores Baca, upping the Emory lead to 2-0.
* Emory takes a 4-1 edge in the third when a pinch-hit single by junior Jessy McLean scores pinch runner Mallory Nolen.
* The Lions chip away at their deficit with single runs in the fourth and sixth before knotting the score in the seventh when Rebeakah Stegmayer opens the frame with a single before making a dash to third base following a sacrifice bunt by Mariann Kennison, with the play at third resulting in a fielding error by the Eagles, allowing PC to tie the game.
* Piedmont threatens in the eighth with runners at first and third with two out, but the rally dies as an attempted double steal fails.
* In the Emory eighth, a one-out walk to catcher Krista Colussi followed by singles by Wilson and Sarah Katz loads the bases, setting the stage for Baca who laced a shot to right field, scoring Colussi with the game winner.
* For the second time in the Regional, sophomore Madison Schaefer pockets the win in relief, throwing the eighth inning. Schaefer accounted for all four Eagle wins in Demorest, tossing 15 innings and finishing with an ERA of 2.80 with seven strikeouts. Schaefer stands 17-4 on the year with her win total tying for 12th place on the school's seasonal chart.
* Senior Toko Miller went the first seven innings in the circle and allowed four runs and eight hits. Miller finished the Regional with an ERA of 1.38 over 20 1/3 innings of work.
* Emory is 4-0 in extra-inning games this year.
* Jenna Wilson extended her hitting streak to six games
* Cassie Baca now has chalked up 15 multi-hit games this season, tying Sami Feller for the team lead in that category.
* Jenna Wilson is named Most Outstanding Player of the Regional after hitting .529 with a team-leading nine hits in 17 at-bats. Wilson scored club-best five runs while tying for the team lead with four RBIs.
* Other Emory representatives on the Regional All-Tournament Team included Mattie Ryan, Sarah Katz, Natalie Arreguin and Madison Schaefer.
A band of happy Emory Eagles mob Cassie Baca after her NCAA Regional Championship winning hit vs. Piedmont.