Trojans Edged By Top-Seeded Lenoir-Rhyne for SAC ChampionshipApril 22, 2012
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Jody Mizelle’s walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning lifted top-seeded and 21st-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne to a 4-3 win as the Bears captured the 2012 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament Sunday afternoon at Tusculum’s Red Edmonds Field.
Anderson (38-13) had rallied from a 3-0 deficit with three runs in the top of the fifth inning to even the score and neither team managed to push a run across until Mizelle’s ninth homer of the season on a 2-1 count cleared the fence in right-center. Lenoir-Rhyne (46-11) earned its third straight SAC tournament title and sixth overall.
Lenoir-Rhyne took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning by taking advantage of a pair of fielding miscues by the Anderson defense. Mizelle lined a single to center and moved to third when the ball got past the Trojans' center fielder. The ensuing relay throw to third was off line, and Mizelle came across the plate for the game's first run.
The Bears added two runs in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. Junior Jessica Fellmeth reached on an error and later scored on a wild pitch, and Megan Laxton added an RBI- single that brought home Brittany Coursent with Lenoir-Rhyne's third run.
Anderson fought back in the fifth against Lenoir-Rhyne starter Dawon Millwood, who had allowed just one run in 23 innings in the tournament to that point. Senior Amber Duncan led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by freshman Rachel Rhodes. Bri Cason followed with a double to left-center to knock in Duncan for the Trojans' first run, and Rebecca Martin came through with a two-out double to plate Rhodes and Cason with the tying runs.
Lenoir-Rhyne could not convert a leadoff walk to Carlee Carpenter in the fifth, and Anderson squandered a leadoff single by Danielle Swygert in the sixth. Coursen led off the Bears' sixth with a single, but Duncan shut the door to preserve the tie. In the seventh, Cason reached on an error to open the inning for the Trojans, but a pair of fielder's choices sent the teams to the bottom of the seventh still tied.
Millwood (32-6) allowed five hits and three earned runs for the Bears, striking out two and walking two. Duncan (23-10) gave up seven hits and four runs (two earned), with three strikeouts and two walks for the Trojans.
Rhodes led the way at the plate for Anderson, going 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Coursen and Mizelle each had a pair of hits for Lenoir-Rhyne.
With the win, Lenoir-Rhyne claimed the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament, while the Trojans, who were unranked in the Southeast Region entering the league tournament, will await their postseason fate with the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, April 29.
The All-Tournament Team and Most Valuable Player award will be announced Monday by the conference office.