Tyler Waddell – Sports Information Graduate Assistant
SAVANNAH, G.A. – Caitlin Christian was dominant in a complete game performance and left fielder Stephanie Fortner came up with the clutch go-ahead RBI single in the fifth inning as the No. 7-seeded Pfeiffer softball team (46-6) beat No. 6 seed Young Harris, 2-1, in the NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals for its second upset win in as many days.
With the gritty victory, the Falcons have earned a spot in the regional finals tomorrow at noon against an opponent yet to be determined.
After getting the win and improving to 13-2 on the season in Pfeiffer's 7-4 upset over No. 2 seed Carson Newman on Thursday, Christian proved she had much more to give by forcefully taking claim to the circle against the Mountain Lions. In what turned out to be her sixth complete game of the 2017 campaign, Christian pitched all seven innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out four.
Young Harris batters went 2-for-23 (.087) against Christian, as the freshman from Asheboro, NC, saw her ERA improve to a team-best 1.44 for the season. The only success the Mountain Lions found at the plate on the afternoon came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Jill Torres struck gold with a solo home run to center field, giving her team a 1-0 lead after both teams struggled to find base runners for the first half of the contest.
But Pfeiffer responded with two runs in the top of the fifth, giving Christian all she would need to ensure the Falcons their 46th win of the year. Kayleigh Troutman singled and then was put into scoring position courtesy of a sacrifice bunt from Emma Tuttle. Vada Blue Sherrill tied the game with an RBI single and then recorded her 42nd stolen base of her sophomore season – which is currently tied for the 4th-most in Division II.
Fortner then knocked in her 27th RBI with a single to left field, scoring Sherrill from second and giving the Falcons the go-ahead run for a 2-1 lead. Young Harris failed to muster a hit in its final three appearances at the plate, falling to 43-13. It will await the winner of Armstrong State-Carson Newman and play again at 4 p.m.
Fortner finished 2-for-3 with an RBI; Sherrill went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base. Troutman (2-for-2) and Chandler Walker (1-for-3) made up the rest of the Falcons' six hits on the day.
A win on Saturday would advance Pfeiffer to the NCAA Super Regional.