LAGRANGE, Ga. -- The East sixth-seed Meredith College softball Angels lost Friday's USA South Tournament pairing 11-6 to the East's third-seed Salem Spirits. MCSB will drop to the losers' bracket to face off with the West Division's third-seed Huntingdon Hawks Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Shuford Softball Complex in LaGrange, Georgia.
Meredith knocked off the East's top-seed last weekend in Rocky Mount to advance to the double-elimination tournament as a part of this weekend's USA South Spring Festival in LaGrange. The Salem Spirits advance to Saturday's day-two with a pair of wins, including a first-round win this morning over Piedmont. Follow all the tournament action live.
Salem entered the 2 p.m. tournament action with a 4-1 win over the West's second-seed Piedmont Lions earlier in the day, while the Avenging Angels earned a first-round bye with last weekend's upset over N.C. Wesleyan.
The Spirits maintained their momentum scoring three runs in the first inning versus MCSB on six hits and one throwing error. Charley Cox walked in the bottom of the frame as the only offensive action for the Angels.
A second infield error placed Salem on third in the next frame, but Cox and Susanne Taylor ended the inning with a double play. Madison Hamilton led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, and Anna Goldman followed with a hit to left center. Emily Velazquez scored two on a single to center to keep the game close until the fourth.
Salem notched four more hits off Sarah Gundlach in the top of four, scoring four unearned runs thanks to two more infield missteps for a 7-2 advantage. Two more runs in the fifth spread the gap even further for the Avenging Angels.
Meredith's defense settled down and cleaned up their game to hold Salem in the sixth. In the bottom of the frame, Taylor led off with a single, and Hamilton doubled again, this time to right field. Goldman and Alyssa Drake drilled back-to-back sacrifice flies to score both runners, trimming their deficit by two heading into the seventh inning.
A two-out, two-RBI homer for Salem's Brianne Coleman put the Spirits out of reach for Meredith. The Avenging Angels scored two in the bottom of the frame on a pair of singles from Cox and Taylor, along with an RBI-double from Bryce Smith, but Salem closed out game with the win.
Gundlach posted a tough loss allowing 15 hits with nine runs, including five earned, with one strikeout in 4.2 innings pitched. Payton Aldridge entered in the fifth earning two runs on four hits, and Salem's Miranda Barker earned the win.