KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Fifth-seeded Union College stayed alive in the 2009 Appalachian Athletic Conference Softball Tournament thanks to a pair of elimination game victories Thursday. The Lady Bulldogs started the day by knocking off King (Tenn.) College 6-3 before beating Tennessee Wesleyan College 1-0.
The win over Tennessee Wesleyan moved Union into the losers' bracket final against eighth-seeded Covenant (Ga.) College Friday at 11 a.m. The winner advances to the AAC Championship game to play No. 3 seed UVa-Wise. UVa-Wise defeated Covenant 3-1 in the winners' bracket final.
Union will take a 26-24 record into Friday's play. Tennessee Wesleyan's season ended at 22-24 while King's 2009 campaign went 24-16.
The victories Thursday guarantee a winning record for only the third time in Union's 15 years history as a fast-pitch program. The 2007 AAC regular-season championship team and the 1997 teams also finished above .500.
Sarah Driver (Hopkinsville, Ky.) delivered a two-out double and Mallory Lavoy (Temperance, Mich.) scored after she doubled on the hit in the Tennessee Wesleyan contest.
Driver threw her fourth shut out of the season as well. The junior scattered three hits over the seven innings and struck out four batters.
Suzannah Behnken (Tempe, Ariz.) went 2-for-3 against Tennessee Wesleyan.
Tennessee Wesleyan had a chance to strike first in the second inning, however the Union defense kept the game scoreless. Heather Gibson was thrown out by shortstop Abby Sears (London, Ky.) at the plate on Sunni Jackson's grounder. Gibson was at third after a walk, stolen base and a groundout.
Brittany Fox only permitted the one run on six hits for Tennessee Wesleyan.
Sears allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits in the meeting with King. She issued a walk and struck out four. Sears also drove in a run during the first inning. Earlier in the week she suffered an injury and missed Union's first three games in the last two days of the tournament.
Ashley Tatman (Lexington, Ky.) placed a ball in shallow right field in the opening inning. Driver came around from second to score the game's first run and give Union the lead. Tatman went on to finish with a season-best three RBIs in the contest.
King cut the Lady Bulldogs' lead in half when Christy Kooch touched home after Katie Hubbard's fly ball to center was dropped by Tatman in King's half of the second.
Union answered in the bottom of the second. Shauna Haga misplayed the ball at second which would have been the third out on a grounder by Driver. Haga dropped the toss from Emily Bennett to force Alice Blauser (Hopkinsville, Ky.) out at second. Next up was Bethany Outland (Hopkinsville, Ky.) singling up the middle with Blauser coming around to make the score 3-1.
Three more runs were added to the lead in the fourth. Blauser drove a run in via a double and Tatman added two more RBIs.
A series of errors helped King score two sixth-inning runs.
DeVault finished the game going 3-for-3 while Blauser, Outland and Tatman had two hits apiece.
King's four hits came from four different players.
Samantha Watts was the losing pitcher after Union scored six runs off her in six innings. Watts allowed 11 hits and struck out three.
Lady Bulldog Notes
Outland saw a season best six-game hitting streak snapped in the Tennessee Wesleyan game.
The margin in all three of the 2009 Union and Tennessee Wesleyan games has been a run. The teams split a doubleheader on April 14 with each team winning 3-2.
DeVault had a three-hit effort on March 30 against Pikeville (Ky.) College.
Union lost both games at King earlier during the regular season.
The Lady Bulldogs swept Covenant on April 15, 8-1 and 3-1.