Maryville College kept their one-game lead in the USA South on Tuesday, as the Scots held off a late Piedmont College rally for a 3-2 win.
After splitting with the Lions with a 4-3 loss in game one, MC holds the one-game lead in the league. Maryville has four games left in the season, as they look to claim their first USA South Regular Season crown.
The Scots' Katlyn Smith had a huge performance on the day, as she earned the win to move to 9-1 in the complete seven-inning game.
The freshman hurler also pitched 4.0 innings of relief in the first game, as she tossed 198 pitches on the day. In 11 innings of work, Smith gave up only one earned run, as she struck out eight. Smith moved to 9-1 on the season with the victory.
Tuesday's win marks MC's 20th win of the season, as it's the Scots third-straight 20-win campaign. This year marks only the 14th time in school history the softball program has won 20 contests.
Maryville College would strike first in the second game, scoring a trio of runs in the third inning. The Scots capitalized on an error, as Christen Torres moved to second on Sarah Gordon's sacrifice bunt. Ashton Hayden's single to short put runners on the corners, before Morgan Brewer's RBI single through the left side plated Torres. Essence Strambler would lace a two-RBI single to center, scoring Brewer and Hayden for a 3-0 Scots' lead.
Piedmont College would find their first run in the bottom of the fifth. Pinch hitter Madeleine Kalafut doubled to left-center, before she advanced to third on a fly out to right. Mariann Kennison blooped an RBI single to center to score Kalafut, cutting Maryville's lead to two, 3-1. The Lions would continue their two-out rally, as Josie Coker's single to right-center put runners on the corners. Piedmont would go for the double steal at first and third again for the second game in a row. Just as in the first game, an errant throw allowed Kennison to score from third to make the score 3-2. MC caught the trailing runner in a pickle to end the inning with a one-run lead.
Maryville juiced the bases on a pair of walks and a single in the top of the seventh, as they looked to extend their slim lead. A strikeout and a groundout would end the threat for the Lions, as the Scots left their seventh runner of the game stranded.
Piedmont got a runner on via a lead-off walk, before Katlyn Smith would turn the double play. The freshman pitcher snagged a hard-hit liner back to her, before she turned and fired to first to turn the two-out play. A groundout would end the game in the Scots' favor, 3-2.
Maryville (20-9, 9-1 USA South) was led by Sarah Gordon's 2-for-2 effort, as Strambler went 1-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Brewer was 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI, as Hayden went 1-for-2 with a run plated. Torres added a run, as Rachel Taylor and Alexus Murray each recorded hits.
For Piedmont (18-14, 9-3) it was five different Lions that combined for the five-hit attack. Kennison led the way, as she went 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI.
Maryville will look next to face off with Huntingdon College on Friday, March 30. First pitch for the USA South doubleheader is slated for 2 p.m. on MC's softball complex.