PENSACOLA, Fla. — The Claflin University softball team gave a valiant effort but came up short Friday, falling to Mississippi College 5-3 in the elimination game of the 2017 NCAA Division II Softball South Regional 1 at UWF Softball Complex in Pensacola, Fla.
The Lady Panthers finish the season with a 33-20 record.
Senior Chelsea Hall, who played in her last game in a Claflin University uniform, finished the game 3-for-4 with both runs and an RBI.
Junior Tiaria Norman had two hits and an RBI while sophomore LaKaylin Lee had one hit with one run in the loss.
Mississippi College was led by Megan Everett with two hits, one run and one RBI. Everett also had two walks for Mississippi College, which improved to 35-19.
Kristen Gardner pitched a complete game in picking up the win, while Norman, who also went the distance, was the losing pitcher of record for Claflin.
Mississippi College used two hits and one Claflin error to score two runs in the top of the second to open the scoring in the contest.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, Hall hit a home run to left center to pull the Lady Panthers within one, 2-1.
Mississippi College threatened in the top of the fourth, placing its first two batters on the paths, but Claflin's defense remained poised, getting the next three batters out to get out of the inning.
After neither team crossed the plate in the fourth. Mississippi College's first batter in the fifth reached via a walk. A subsequent single down the right-field line brought across the run to increase the lead to two once again, 3-1.
With a runner on first in the top of the fifth, the game went into a 3-plus-hour rain delay.
Once play resumed, Mississippi College tacked on two additional runs to take a 5-1 advantage.
After holding Mississippi College scoreless in the top of the sixth, Claflin tacked on two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to two, 5-3.
The Lady Panthers' defense was strong once again in the top of the seventh, holding Mississippi College scoreless.
With two outs and nobody on, Hall hit one through the right side but Lee grounded out to the pitcher to end the game and Claflin's run in the NCAA softball regionals.