04/23/06 — One up, one down for Lady Trojans

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One up, one down for Lady Trojans

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on April 23, 2006 2:19 AM

CONCORD -- Rain swashed out an entire day's worth of games as the 2006 Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference softball tournaments was halted Saturday.

All of Saturday's play was postponed due to rain, lightning and wet grounds. The tournament will be pushed back a day as No. 9 seed Mount Olive will take on No. 6 seed Lees-McRae in an elimination game. If the Trojans win, they'll play again at 11:30 a.m. and would play a third game at 7 p.m. if they win the second game.

The tournament is now scheduled to conclude Monday.

On Friday, Tiffanie Pittman homered on the first pitch of the tournament as No. 9 seed Mount Olive defeated No. 8 seed Erskine 3-2 in the first round of the 2006 Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Softball Tournament. Reliever Christine Ermer, who is tied for fifth in the nation in saves, pitched the final two innings for her fifth save of the season.

In the second round against top-seeded Queens, Mount Olive's rally from a four-run deficit came up short as the Trojans fell 5-3. Colleen Thomas drove in two runs for the Trojans.

Mount Olive (26-29) took an instant lead when Pittman drove the first pitch opposite field over the left-center field fence for her first collegiate home run. Rigil Gruca added a two-out RBI single to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.

Erskine (21-22-2) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first, but Trojan starter Shauna Cowdrey (11-12) got out of the jam on a fly out and a foul out. Erskine left seven runners on base through the first three innings and stranded 15 runners for the game.

Mount Olive extended its lead to 3-0 in the second when Pittman singled and forced an error in a rundown, allowing Kat Cahoon to score from third. Erskine got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth on Katie Knapp's two-out, two-run single.

Cowdrey allowed two runs through five innings before giving way to Ermer, who started the sixth inning. Ermer got out of a bases-loaded jam on a strikeout and a line out. Erskine had the tying run in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Ermer closed out the game on a come-backer to the mound.

Against Queens, two Mount Olive errors led to two unearned runs in the bottom of the first as Queens went on to build a 4-0 lead after four innings.

The Trojans manufactured a pair of runs in the top of the fifth as pinch-runner Karen Thornton scored on Colleen Thomas' two-strike squeeze bunt and Thomas eventually scored when Erin Wilson was safe at second in a rundown.

After Queens added a run in the bottom of the fifth, Mount Olive tried to rally in the top of the seventh as Thomas doubled home a run with two outs. But the threat ended on a ground out.

Krystal Bourne (10-12) and Ermer combined on a six-hitter for Mount Olive. Queens starter Lauren Berst (4-5) allowed three hits in five innings and Jennifer Churchill pitched the final two innings for her seventh save of the season. Churchill is tied for second in the nation in saves.