Claflin softball team clinches the CIAA Southern Division

Salisbury, N.C. – In their first season competing in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) the Claflin University Lady Panthers softball team shut out Livingstone in a Southern Division contest, winning game one 8-0 and game two 18-0, to finish undefeated at 18-0.  The Lady Panthers, who sits at 32-15 on the season, clinched the Southern Division of the conference and earned the No. 1 divisional seed in the upcoming CIAA post-season tournament.

In game one, Bre’Zhay Chambers picked up her 14th win of the season, going all six innings, allowing just one hit with 12 strikeouts against 23 batters faced.

Chaston Huntly led the Claflin offense going 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI.  Kayla Cato went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs and two RBIs and Marion Goins hit her first collegiate home run in finishing 2-for-3 and adding a run and double to her stat line.

Claflin opened the game with a run in the first inning as Cato tripled with two outs and scored on an RBI single by Huntly.

After neither team scored over the next two innings, the Lady Panthers offense erupted for four runs in the top of the fifth, fueled by the home run by Goins to lead off the inning.

Claflin put up one additional run in the fifth and two in the sixth to capture the 8-0 shutout victory.

“It’s been a great season thus far as our pitching has been outstanding and we’ve had timely hitting,” head coach Marty Kinard said about capturing the division in the team’s first year in the conference.  “I must give credit to our seniors who have stepped up and led the way for the underclassmen.  We are looking to get better every day and put ourselves in position to win a conference championship.”

The Lady Panthers maintained the momentum in game two putting up two runs off three hits and one Blue Bear error in the opening inning.

The Lady Panthers offense scored five runs in the third inning to take a commanding 7-0 lead.  Angel Johnson led off the inning with single and advanced all the way to third on an error by the catcher and scored on a double by Cato.  Huntly singled to score Cato from second for Claflin second run of the inning and fourth of the game.

With one out, the Lady Panthers next three batters reached the base pads as Shauneyah Nicholas, Mercedes Howze singled to score Huntly and another Blue Bear error allowed Jasmine Squirewell to reach base and Nicholas and Howze to cross home plate.

The Lady Panthers put up five hits in the third inning.

As Claflin defense remained solid its offense kept pushing, putting up 10 runs off 11 hits one Blue Bear error in the fourth to take a 17-0 advantage.  Howze and Cato paced the Lady Panthers in the inning hitting a grand slam apiece.

Claflin closed the game with one additionally run in the fifth, en route to capturing the 18-0 game two win.

Claflin was led in game two by Johnson, who finished 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs.  The Lady Panthers got contributions in game two from Cato (2-for-4, 6 RBIs, a double, and a grand slam); Huntly (3 for-3, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Shauneyah Nicholas (2-for-4, 2 runs, and an RBI), Howze (2-for-4, 5 RBIs, and a grand slam) and Cameron Hollis (2-for-2, with a double).

Shaniya Thomas was solid on the mound, recording a no-hitter and allowing one walk with five strikeouts in three innings of work to pick up her 12th win of the season.  Reagan Hill came on in relief for two innings, allowing two hits with one walk and a strikeout.

Claflin will close out the regular season against Augusta University at home on Tuesday (Apr. 23) and at USC Aiken on Wednesday (Apr. 24) before heading to its first-ever CIAA post-season tournament which is scheduled for Monday-Wednesday, Apr. 29-May 1.

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