Charlotte defeats Campbell 7-2 to earn first NCAA Tournament win in program history

On Tuesday, the Charlotte 49ers unveiled their new athletics logo.  First new look to the logo...
On Tuesday, the Charlotte 49ers unveiled their new athletics logo. First new look to the logo since 2000.(WBTV)
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 10:27 PM EDT
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Press release provided by Charlotte 49ers Athletics

DURHAM, N.C. –  The Charlotte Softball Team played in its first NCAA Tournament game on Friday, and got their first-ever NCAA Tournament win over Campbell 7-2. The Niners took a three-run in the bottom of the first and never looked back. A bases-loaded walk with no outs by MaKalah Mitchell was followed by a one-out, two-run single by Ella Chancey gave the Niners a 3-0 lead after the first inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, after Campbell cut the lead to one, Ashleigh Washington came through with a two-out single to bring a runner home. The throw by the left fielder got away and allowed the Niners to score another run and put the Niners up three again. The Niners added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to an RBI double by Madelyn Wright and a sacrifice fly by Bailey Vannoy

Sam Gress got the win and moved her record to 22-12 on the year. The Niners now sit at 34-21 on the year and get their fourth neutral site win of the year. This win is also the first NCAA Tournament win for a Charlotte Athletics women’s team since the Women’s Soccer team defeated Tennessee 2-0 on November 14, 2008.

How It Happened

After a quick 1-2-3 inning by Gress in the top of the first, the Niners got active in the bottom of the inning. Washington reached on a hit by pitch and was followed by a single by Kassidy Krupit. After another hit by pitch drawn by Vannoy, MaKalah Mitchell came up with the bases loaded and no one out. Mitchell walked to bring home Washington and put the Niners up 1-0. With one out, Ella Chancey came up and hit a two-run single to increase the Niners’ lead to 3-0.

Gress had two more quick innings and set down the first nine batters she faced. Campbell would get on the board in the fourth with two runs to cut the Niners’ lead to just one. After the first two batters got out for the Niners in the bottom half, the team went on a two-out rally. A walk and a single got two runners on for Ashleigh Washington, who proceeded to single to left field to score a two. The second run scored on an error by the left fielder and increased the Charlotte lead to 5-2.

Both teams had quiet fifth innings, but the Niners came back out in the bottom of the sixth to add a little more insurance. Madelyn Wright doubled down the left field line to score Savanna Nguyen and increase the 49ers’ lead to four. Three batters later, Bailey Vannoy drove in the seventh run of the game on a sac fly. Lena Elkins came out in relief in the seventh and set down the Campbell offense 1-2-3 to secure the first NCAA Tournament win in program history.

Message from Coach

“I’m really proud of the way we played game one”, said head coach Ashley Chastain. “It was exactly everything we talked about, in preparation for the game. I thought they played really loose and with a lot of confidence, just went out and played together like they have all year. Sam Gress gave us a great win in the circle. You know, she looked like herself and executed the plan that we had against their offense really well. Behind her, I thought we played great defense. I think about a couple of plays that Savanna Nguyen made at shortstop. That really gave us a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence. And then offensively to get past their starters so quickly in the game, I thought that was a really big deal. [Isabella] Smith is a great arm. She’s done a lot for them this year and we had a great plan against her and I thought they trusted that plan from the start and it was huge for us to get to the bullpen as early as we did. So, really proud of the entire offense top to bottom for their performance.”

Words from Cori Hoffler

“I’d say the best part is just to look up and take it all in”, said Hoffler. “I think that was the most surreal moment for me, was to take it in and see how many people we had there supporting us, in there for us, and with full confidence in us as well, and just being able to sit there with my team. We know that we made it here, but we’re not done. We’re excited for what’s to come.”

Up Next

The Niners will now take on the #8 Duke Blue Devils on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. This will be the second time these two teams have met this season, with the matchup on March 8th going nine innings.