NCAA Softball: Vikings Defeat Piedmont, 8-0, in Five Innings

Marie Collop, photo by Raven Wilson
Marie Collop, photo by Raven Wilson

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. – Top-seeded Berry College moved past fourth-seeded Piedmont College, 8-0, in a five-inning, run-rule victory on Friday afternoon as part of the Mount Berry Regional of the 2016 Division III Softball Championship.

In the circle for Berry, Kassie Howard pitched a five-inning no-hitter, her third-such performance this season. She faced only two batters over the minimum, walking one, hitting a batter and striking out six. The result pushes Berry to 37-6 overall, while Piedmont goes to 29-14 this spring.

Following a 1-2-3 inning by Howard to open the action, Berry moved ahead, 1-0, with a run in the bottom half. Leadoff batter Brittany Ferrell reached on a hit-by-pitch, and advanced to second on Brittany Tuttle's (2-for-4) bunt single. Two batters later Marie Collop (2-of-2, 2 RBI) hit a run-scoring single up to middle to plate Ferrell.

After retiring the first seven Piedmont batters, Howard hit a batter and then walked another to put two runners on base with one out in the top of the third. After Laura Carter successfully executed a sacrifice bunt to push the runners to second and third, Howard induced an inning-ending pop-out to shortstop to strand the runners and keep Berry ahead, 1-0. To close out the afternoon, Howard set down the final eight Piedmont batters in order, including a fifth inning that saw her strike out the side.

Berry moved ahead, 3-0, with two more runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Kenzie Fleming had an RBI single, and Allison DeBusk later plated a run on a fielder's choice. Fleming hit 2-for-4 and had the game's lone extra base hit--a double.

Earlier in the day, third-seeded Emory University bested second-seeded Birmingham-Southern College, 3-1. Berry faces Emory at 11 a.m., on Saturday in a winner's bracket game. At 1:30 p.m., Piedmont and Birmingham-Southern play an elimination game.