KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The Union College Lady Bulldogs advanced in the winner's bracket to the championship round this afternoon with its win over top seed Reinhardt, 2-1, in the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament in Kingsport, Tenn. at Domtar park.
With the win Union moves to 19-16 (8-8 AAC) while Reinhardt falls to 40-10 (14-2 AAC) on the year.
The Lady Bulldogs scratched the board first when Abby Sears (London, Ky.) doubled off the fence to left field, scoring Ali Blauser (Hopkinsville, Ky.) from second to make the score, 1-0 in the first inning.
The Lady Bulldogs looked to extend its lead in the second inning, loading the bases with two outs, but a harmless fly ball off the bat of Ali Blauser ended the threat and kept the score at 1-0.
Union again put two runners in scoring position in the top of the third with just one away, but Reinhardt hurler Maddie Monroe buckled down and retired the next two batters, holding the score and the Lady Bulldogs at bay.
Reinhardt missed a golden opportunity to pull even and even take the lead in the bottom of the third inning when it loaded the bases with two outs and the heart of its order up, but a spectacular running catch by Ashley Tatman (Lexington, Ky.) in deep left-center field keep the Lady Eagles off the scoreboard.
The Lady Eagles threatened to score again in the bottom of the fourth inning when a misplayed grounder loaded the bases with two away in the frame. Reinhardt could not pull even however, as senior hurler Sarah Driver (Hopkinsville, Ky.) struck out Kimber Beard to retire the side and end the scoring chance.
Union extended its lead in the top of the sixth inning when Jessie Dunning (Bowling Green, Ky.) blasted a solo homerun to straight away center field, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Eagles managed to manufacture a run in the bottom of the seventh, when Lindsey Booker crossed home on a misplayed groundball, cutting the Union lead to 2-1. From there Sarah Driver slammed the door shut, getting a ground out to finish off the win.
Driver (12-7) pitched a solid game, going the distance while allowing just one unearned run on five hits to go with her six strike outs.
Abby Sears led the Lady Bulldogs offensively, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a double. Jessie Dunning also turned in a solid performance, going 1-for-2 with a homerun.
The Lady Eagles were led offensively by Lindsey Booker, as she went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the loss.
Union returns to Domtar Park tomorrow in search of its first ever AAC tournament championship. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.