ATLANTA -- The Piedmont College softball team was able to quickly get over a heartbreaking 13-12 loss to Emory from earlier in the day and take down Lynchburg College for the second time in as many days at the Atlanta Regional in NCAA action.
The Lady Lions' 2-0 win over the Hornets set up a rematch with the Eagles of Emory University on Sunday at noon in what will be the championship round of the regional, Piedmont's third straight appearance in a NCAA Regional Championship Game.
PC also made it to the Championship Game in the Salem Regional last season and did so back in 2011 when they played host SUNY-Cortland in the finals finishing a game away from a World Series appearance for Head Coach Terry Martin. However, the Lady Lions will need to win twice tomorrow over Emory to get a chance to move on in NCAA play during the first season that Division III will play both a regional and superregional round.
In the afternoon matchup with Lynchburg, Piedmont saw USA South Pitcher of the Year Jordin Ellingson step up in a big moment pitching in an elimination game for the second time this postseason as she was also called in to work the second of two against Huntingdon on Championship Sunday in the USA South tourney a few weeks back.
Ellingson would go seven complete today allowing six hits while striking out three and walking just one on the afternoon. The sophomore faced 28 batters and induced 12 fly outs and six grounders that kept the scoreboard at 0's for Lynchburg who was playing as the home team in this contest.
Piedmont picked up the run support needed when Abby Smith tatooed a Lynchburg pitch over the tall fence in left for her second home run of the day as she belted a three-run shot earlier in the day against Emory. Smith's solo shot put Piedmont up 1-0 in the top of the 2nd as fans collectively felt at ease with the Lady Lions up just a run.
Whitney Wolfe would make it more comfortable for the Green and Gold faithful when she scored in the 3rd to make it a 2-0 shutout score, the same as the final score line as Piedmont would need no more run support on the day.
Ellingson's performance in the circle solidifed the win as she retired the side in order in the 3rd and 4th to dim the hopes of the Hornets hanging on the dugout fence on the third base side. The park got tense in the 7th when a 1-out double brought the tying run to the plate. However, Ellingson induced a fly ball to Olivia Duncan in right for out number two before a ground ball back to the pitcher proved the end for Lynchburg in Atlanta, and set up the much anticipated rematch with Emory on Sunday at noon.
Abby Smith picked up the only RBI of the day as she crucnhed a solo homer in the 2nd, going 1-for-3 in the game. Olivia Duncan was 2-for-3 to continue her tear as she is now 14-for-20 in NCAA postseason play after going a combined five-for-six today in a pair of contests. Ellingson gets the win to move to 21-4 on the year as both the sophomore and her senior teammate Brittney Head are ranked in the top 13 in all of NCAA Division III with their win totals in the circle this season.
The win moves Piedmont to now an incredible 43-7 overall in 2014 as the Lady Lions move to 8-5 in their last three NCAA tourney trips. PC will now face Emory University in a rematch on Sunday at noon after the two played an instant-classic earlier today in Atlanta that went the way of the Eagles late.
Emory is the top seed in the Atlanta Regional and the tourney host who owns a 2-0 record after its win over PC earlier today. Piedmont, who is 2-1 at the Regional, will need to beat Emory twice tomorrow in order to move on as the tourney is double elimination.
Should Martin's Lady Lions pull off the unthinkable with a pair of wins tomorrow over the host and top seed in Emory University, the long-time Piedmont leader would win his 400th game of an illustrious career as he sits two wins shy at 398 with his 43-7 record this spring, the winningest single season by any Lady Lion softball team.
First pitch is set for noon tomorrow, and the 'if' game would take place at 2:30 pm should Piedmont win the first contest. Fans can follow the action with live stats or with live video provided courtesy of the Office of Sports Information at Emory University.