Charlotte eliminated recap

The Charlotte softball team in the huddle.

The Charlotte softball team was eliminated from the Conference USA (C-USA) championship tournament with a pair of losses on Thursday, May 12, at Lovelace Stadium in Denton, Texas. The 49ers were knocked down to the loser's bracket after a loss to North Texas in the quarterfinal round. Charlotte put up a strong fight in the losers bracket but narrowly fell to Marshall 10-9. 

Game one: North Texas 6, Charlotte 3

These two teams faced off three times in the regular season, with North Texas winning in two of the three games. On Thursday, the 49ers were able to take a 3-0 lead early in their quarterfinal match following the second inning. 

All three runs came from a three-run homer over the centerfield wall by Cori Henderson. This brought Henderson's home run total to double digits on the season. 

In the bottom of the fifth, the 49ers gave up three runs, allowing the Mean Grown to close the deficit and tie the matchup. These three runs came from two back-to-back doubles. The 49ers failed to answer back in the next frame, striking out twice and flying out.

North Texas center-fielder Lexi Cobb hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to put the Mean Green up 6-3 with just a single inning left to play. In the first at-bat of the seventh, Mekayla Frazier doubled in the first at-bat, but three straight outs gave Charlotte their first loss in the C-USA tournament. 

Game Two: Marshall 10, Charlotte 9

With the quarterfinals being double elimination, Charlotte had a chance in the losers bracket to make up for their loss. They fought hard, putting up a hard fight but fell short. 

Marshall was coming off a loss to No. 1 seed Louisiana Tech following a round one win over No. 5 seed Florida Atlantic. In April, Marshall and Charlotte faced off in a three-game series with the Thundering Herd sweeping the 49ers. 

The 49ers took the lead early, putting up two runs in the first frame. Both runs came off of the bat of Bailey Vannoy, who homered to right field. The lead didn't last long as Marshall scored four in the next frame. In the second inning, the Thundering Herd extended their lead to 5-2. 

The top of the fifth was critical for the 49ers, scoring six runs and taking a three-run lead of 8-5. The six runs came from five hits and an error from Marshall. 

Frazier and Vannoy had RBIs of their own in the inning. Kourtney Gremillion had two of the six RBIs with a single that brought Frazier and Vannoy home. The other two RBIs in the top of the fifth came from Stacy Payton and Madelyn Wright.

Marshall tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Charlotte's Gremillion, who already had two RBIs and a hit, managed to reach home following a wild pitch in the top of the sixth. This pitch gave Charlotte the lead again, 9-8. 

Charlotte failed to get anything going in the top of the seventh, getting a quick three outs. Trailing 9-8, Marshall had one last frame to overcome the deficit, and they did more than just that. 

A home run from their right fielder Mya Stevenson tied the game up at nine. An out and two hits later, catcher Katie Adams stepped up to the plate and singled to bring home the winning run and knock the 49ers out of the tournament.

Season numbers:

The 49ers finished the season with a 35-23 overall record and were 12-12 in conference play. 

Vannoy, who won C-USA player of the year for the second season in a row this year, had home run number 24 in the first inning against Marshall to mark the end of her historic season. She also had 74 hits on the year, another single-season record, while leading the 49ers in all batting stats but doubles and walks, which Payton led.

Ella Chancey was huge for the 49ers this season, putting up huge numbers in her first year. Chancey started in all but one game this season, becoming an instant difference-maker for the squad. Chancey became a 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I Freshman of the Year Top 25 finalist and broke the record of home runs in a freshman season by two.

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