|Lenoir-Rhyne Blanks ASU, 8-0|
|Jags finish at 40-17 overall, set school record for victories|
|Web Posted 5.16.10|
N.C. -Eighth-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals Sunday morning with an 8-0 victory over Augusta State in six innings in the Southeast Regional Championship at Bears Field.
The Bears, who pushed their winning streak to eight games, improved to 53-7 on the season and set a school record for victories in a season.
The NCAA Super Regionals are slated to take place on May 21-22 at a site to be determined pending the outcome of the Dahlonega Regional hosted by North Georgia.
Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kat Rivers, the 2010 South Atlantic Conference Player Of The Year, hit a pair of home runs, including a walk-off, three-run blast in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rivers finished with five RBI on the day.
The Jaguars, who set a school record of their own with a 40-17 mark in 2010, loaded the bases in the top of the first inning with two outs on three straight walks but could not plate a run.
The host Bears loaded the bases in their half of the second and third frames but couldn't score as well.
The Jags weren’t as fortunate in the fourth, as L-R broke the contest open, plating five runs in the inning. Brittany Cherry got L-R on the board with a two-run double to left centerfield. Sarah Atkins added a run-scoring single before Rivers delivered a two-run homer.
The contest remained 5-0 until Rivers ended the game in the sixth with a three-run homer, her SAC-record 22nd of the season. Rivers is now tied for the national lead in round-trippers.
Dawon Millwood picked up the win, and improved to 21-3 with her 10th shutout of the season. Millwood held the Jags in check, surrendering just two hits on the day while striking out three batters.
Cherry added three hits, two runs scored and two runs batted in for L-R.
ASU sophomore starter Sara DeMuth finished the season with a 17-10 record as she struck out seven in five innings of work.
Sophomores Kacee Camp and Jessica Thornton registered the Jags’ only two hits of the game.
The contest marked the final appearance in a Jaguar uniform for five seniors: Leann Barber, Beth Gerlach, Kayla Hicks, Kimberly Kennedy and Alysha Krier. The 2010 ASU senior class was responsible for 141 victories over the past four seasons as well as three NCAA Regional appearances.
Lenoir-Rhyne Head Coach Shena Hollar:
“We came and did what we wanted to today in getting it done in one game. I thought we were a little tight and nervous to start. We weren’t great with our bats; we were taking her good pitches and swinging at the bad ones. In the fourth inning we had a little chat and started playing like we knew we could.”
(on leaving base runners on early in the game):
“I think the first couple innings Dawon (Millwood) was kind of nervous because she hasn’t thrown in a while. After that she settled down and took care of what she needed to do. We had chances with bases loaded and it was just a matter of time before we put some runs on the board.”
(on advancing to the Super Regional):
“We set goals all year. We want to be conference champs and then win the conference tournament. We didn’t say anything about Regionals or Super Regionals because our goal is to go to the College World Series. If we win two ballgames next week then that’s where we go and we’re where we want to be. That’s the ultimate goal of any college softball player and we’re two wins away from that.”
Senior Brittany Cherry: (on reaching Super Regionals):
“It kind of is redemption from last year. Although it wasn’t Carson-Newman it’s good and our bats helped us to it. Last year I was struggling at this time of the season and I didn’t come through for the team and this year’s goal for me was to be an asset to the team.”
(on a senior’s prospective on the team and season):
“My four years at L-R have been unbelievable. When I came in as a freshman we were a very good team. We are a completely different team than we were my freshman year. Back then we would get one or two runs and that would be what we needed. This year even though we still have good pitching, our bats have helped us too. Three of the four years I’ve played we’ve won the conference championship and that’s amazing. I’m glad I’m not done playing yet.”
Junior Kat Rivers: (on defeating Augusta State to advance to the Super Regional):
“Even though we didn’t get to beat Carson-Newman this year to advance, Augusta is a great team and they gave us a run for our money in the regular season. Beating them twice in this tournament feels good. We hit the ball well against them even though we struggled a little bit to start off today.”
(on record-setting day for both herself and the team):
“As a team we set goals and we were competitive with one another about hitting more home runs or having more RBIs as a friendly competition. The first home run I choked up on the bat and hit it hard after she threw a couple by me.”
Sophomore Dawon Millwood: (on differences in this year and last year’s regional):
“Last year we didn’t have our bats and had to rely on pitching. This year we are a more complete team with pitching, hitting and fielding. We’ve carried our bats over from the conference tournament and kept it going.”
(on pitching for the first time since the conference tournament):
“I was kind of nervous from not having thrown in a while and I normally don’t get nervous. I wanted to prove to everybody that I can still do what I was doing in the start of the season. I was thinking way too much and about the third inning I settled down and started having fun with it. My confidence came back after that and it feels good to have it.”
Augusta State Head Coach Melissa Mullins:
“Obviously, if you don’t win it’s not the way you want it to turn out. I thought we played a better game today, our pitching was better; out hitting lacked a little but we just fell short. I am still proud of this team and proud of this class for the career they’ve had but also the season we’ve had. There’s nothing to hang our heads about.”
(on leaving base runners on early in the game):
“I think we missed a key opportunity to get out early and put some pressure on them. That’s the name of the game once you get this far. To have scored in the first two innings would have been big for us and we would have been in the ball game more as it got later.”
(on having to play through the losers’ bracket and play Saturday evening and Sunday morning):
“I think it was tougher on the coaching staff than it was the players because we had to stay up and get ready for today. On past teams of mine that might have been a factor, but for this team I don’t think it mattered. They came out pumped up and positive. They seemed well rested and had more energy this morning than we did when we played L-R yesterday. L-R is a great team, and we didn’t give it to them they definitely earned it. The only thing we can say is that they were the better team today and they won because of it.”
Senior Beth Gerlach: (on the game as a whole):
“We knew we needed to get hits at opportune moments and we didn’t do a good job of doing that and Lenoir-Rhyne did.”
Senior Kayla Hicks: (on leaving the bases loaded early):
“When we had the bases loaded it pumped us up and it would have been a really good opportunity to score. Even though we didn’t score we were able to go off that high for a while and our pitcher shutting them down to start the game.”
Senior Alysha Krier: (on the game overall):
“It was a good start to the game and we were pumped up. I’m really proud of how Sara (DeMuth) pitched after coming back from struggling the second half of the season. She did well and we needed that one little thing to get us going and we didn’t get it. We can’t look back and coulda-shoulda-woulda. We have to be proud of what we built as seniors and expect it to continue next year.” (Box)