Christopher Newport wins USA South tournament, program's first since 2009
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- Senior Krista Townsend tossed a two-hit shutout to lead the third-seeded Christopher Newport Captains (32-11) to their first USA South championship since 2009. CNU defeated top-seeded Ferrum 7-0 in the 2013 championship game to pick up the eighth title in program history. The Panthers fell to 34-10, the fourth victim of a sizzling Captains squad that outscored opponents 31-3 in the conference championship.
In the program's final year in the USA South, head coach Keith Parr and the Captains ended its dominant run in the conference with its eighth automatic berth into the NCAA Division III regional tournament.
Townsend was named the Most Valuable Player and six CNU players earned All Tournament honors. Townsend's two-hitter was just the fourth time this season the 22nd-ranked Panthers had been shutout and was her first complete game shutout of the year. She improved to 10-4 on the year with a 1.93 ERA.
The offense was out in full support of their senior pitcher, scoring seven runs against the Ferrum pitching staff, including five against USA South Pitcher of the Year Kaitlyn Culler. The eventual game-winning knock was an RBI double in the top of the second by Alexis Pope.
In the fifth inning, CNU had a big inning, scoring four runs on four hits, including a two-run single from Sabrina Hill. Meagan Jones, Candice Zollars, Chelsea Mitchell and Kelley Foate all came around to score in the inning as CNU took a 5-0 lead with just 2 1/2 innings left to play.
The Captains tacked on two more in the seventh, with an RBI groundout by Mitchell and a solo home run by Kristina McLaughlin. It was the seventh home run of the four-day tournament for CNU.
Ferrum was unable to catch up to Townsend, who retired 14 batters in a row after a single to lead off the third inning. A line drive to Hill at first base would end the game and seal the championship for CNU 7-0.
Zollars was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Hill added a multi-hit performance as well, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. CNU outhit the Panthers 9-2.