Big innings push Warhawks past Chanticleers at SBC Championship, 8-6

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TROY, Ala. – A three-run top of the sixth inning and three insurance runs in the seventh helped propel the ULM softball team to an 8-6 victory over Coastal Carolina in the opening round of the Sun Belt Championship at the Troy Softball Complex.

“What a great team win,” ULM head coach Molly Fichtner said. “Postseason is all about great starting pitching, solid defense and clutch hitting. We had some big RBIs up and down our lineup from Jayden to KP. We will celebrate this win and then get our eyes set on ULL.”

Trailing 3-2 after five innings, ULM bounced back with a three-run top of the sixth. Rylee Lara opened the inning with a walk and Kennedy Page followed with a single. Jayden Mount came through with an RBI single back through the middle to plate pinch runner Kelsey Giddens to knot the game at three.

Alysia Anderson walked to load the bases, setting the table for Korie Kreps’ 2-RBI single, bringing home Page and Mount for the 5-3 advantage.

The Warhawks added to the lead in the top of the seventh. Giddens singled with one out before Kennedy Page hit an RBI double to left center to score Giddens. Page advanced to third on an error by the left fielder. Mount added an RBI single to left to bring home Page. Mount worked her way to third and scored on a wild pitch for the 8-3 lead.

Coastal Carolina threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning. Makiya Thomas hit an RBI double and Stavi Augur followed with an RBI single to cut the gap to 8-5. After Gianni Hulett reentered at pitcher for Amber Coons, Abbey Montoya hit an RBI single to bring Coastal within 8-6 and bring the potential game-winning run to the plate with two outs in Courtney Dean. However, Dean popped out to second base to end the game.

Hulett (6-9) earned the win, throwing five innings after tossing the first 4 1/3 innings and the final 2/3 of an inning. Hulett allowed three runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Coons gave up three runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts over two innings.

ULM had the first scoring opportunity in the top of the second inning. Madison Blount opened the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kennedy Johnson. However, a foul out and a pop out brought an end to the inning.

The Warhawks had another chance in the third. Anderson picked up a one-out walk. Kreps followed with a single, and the duo advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Andie Edwards. After Blount walked to load the bases, Johnson popped out to end the threat.

ULM finally broke through in the fourth inning. Madelyn Fletcher and Lara earned back-to-back walks to open the inning. Page’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, allowing Mount’s sacrifice fly to score Fletcher for the 1-0 advantage.

Coastal answered with a solo home run by Augur to lead off the bottom half of the fourth, tying the game at 1.

The Warhawks regained the lead in the top of the fifth. Kreps reached on a lead off walk, and a sacrifice bunt by Edwards and a groundout by Blount moved Kreps to third. Johnson came through with a RBI single to left to put the Warhawks back up, 2-1.

The Chanticleers went on top for the first time in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor Sweigart hit an RBI triple to right to tie the game and Thomas added an RBI single to put CCU on top, 3-2.

ULM wasted little time responding with the three-run sixth and seventh innings before going on to the victory.

Mount, Kreps and Page led ULM with two hits each, while Mount drove in three runs and Kreps had two RBIs. ULM took advantage of 10 walks in the game, with Kreps and Lara walking three times each.

The Warhawks will meet the top-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns for the fourth time in the last week at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Links to live video and stats are available on the softball schedule page at ULMWarhawks.com.

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