Taylor, Joliff lead Scots in upset of top-ranked Piedmont, 4-3

Taylor, Joliff lead Scots in upset of top-ranked Piedmont, 4-3

Maryville College took game one from Piedmont College in the best-of-three USA South Tournament series on Saturday, 4-3.

The No. 6-seeded Scots earned the upset over the top-ranked Lions, after Maryville's Rachel Taylor used a two-RBI shot in the top of the seventh. Her heroics, coupled with a stellar performance from Casey Joliff in the circle, put MC in the driver's seat of the USA South first round.

Game two of the series is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. in Demorest, Ga., with an if-needed game slated for Sunday, April 9.

On two occasions during game one, the Piedmont Lions loaded the bags. The Scots' defense stood strong, keeping the top-ranked team off the board in those innings to secure the 4-3 victory.

Haley Hixon started things off for the Lions, after she doubled through the left side. She advanced to third on a wild pitch, before Hannah Hoban's sacrifice fly to center scored her. After one inning, Piedmont held a 1-0 lead.

Maryville would knot things up in the third following a Jenna Roberts single. She stole second, before Taylor would score the speedster with an RBI single. The Lions and the Scots were tied 1-all.

Piedmont would regain the lead in the bottom of the third, however. Kory Best singled to center to lead off the inning, before moving to third on a sacrifice and a groundout. Allyson Gentry would score her with an RBI single to left, making the score 2-1 in favor of the Lions.

The Scots would again match Piedmont. Christina White doubled to lead off the fifth inning, putting Maryville in position. Ashton Hayden singled through the right side to score white, before she was able to advance to second on the play with no outs. That's where she would be stranded, as Maryville tied the game for the second time, 2-2.

Maryville allowed Piedmont to load the bags in the bottom of the fifth with only one out. A single from Best was followed by back-to-back errors from the Scots. Casey Joliff forced Hoban to pop out to third, ending the Lions' threat.

The Lions again loaded the bags in the bottom of the sixth, this time with only one out. A double from Josie Coker, a single by Becka Ross and a walk Rachel Oberholtzer put the Scots' in jeopardy. Joliff, again, was able to get out of the inning with a foul out to the catcher and a groundout to third, leaving the score at 2-all.

Maryville would take the lead for the first time in the game during the top of the seventh. Back-to-back singles by Christen Torres and White put runners on, before Roberts would sacrifice them to second and third. Rachel Taylor would lace a two-RBI shot up the middle, just out of the reach of the pitcher to score both runners.

Piedmont would make a comeback run in the bottom of the seventh, however. A single from Hixon and a walk by Hoban put the go-ahead run at the plate. Jessica Bagwell flew out to short, before Josie Coker laced a shot into left. Maryville's Roberts came up throwing, picking Hoban off at third to end the game with a 4-3 Maryville win.

The Scots saw Joliff pitch a complete game, eight hitter on Saturday. She allowed just three runs on the day, while striking out a trio in 30 batters faced.

Offensively, Maryville (19-16) was led by Taylor's 2-for-4, three-RBI afternoon. White was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs, while Hayden went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Roberts was 1-for-3 with a run scored, as Alexus Murray and Torres each recorded a hit. McMahan scored a run for Maryville as a pinch runner.

Piedmont (25-14) saw Best go 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Hixon was 2-for-4 with a run. Coker was 2-for-4, while she, Gentry and Hoban added an RBI each for the Lions.