Clemson softball wins NCAA regional championship by mercy rule against Louisiana

·3 min read

CLEMSON — Millie Thompson met her greatest fear.

Being Clemson softball's starting pitcher in an NCAA regional championship game? No, not that.

After the left-hander fired a one-hitter to beat Louisiana, 8-0, by five-inning mercy rule Sunday at McWhorter Stadium and put Clemson in the super regionals, she let a cooler be poured on her head. Then she ran to the outfield wall, where fans on the other side picked up a wading pool and dumped it on her.

"She's afraid of water," teammate Cammy Pereira said. "... Y'all, we're not kidding. She hates water."

Clemson (42-15) never allowed a run in sweeping through three games, first a no-hitter by Thompson to beat UNC Wilmington, 9-0, on Friday, then a four-hitter by Valerie Cagle to beat Auburn, 1-0, on Saturday.

Clemson, the No. 10 seed, advances to a best-of-three series at No. 7 seed Oklahoma State (44-12) in one of the eight super regionals that will begin Thursday (9:30 p.m., ESPN2). Game 2 is Friday (6 p.m., ESPN2) with Game 3 if necessary on Saturday. Eight teams will make the Women's College World Series beginning June 2 in Oklahoma City.

Clemson pitcher Millie Thompson sails off from the postgame news conference Sunday while wearing her captain's hat.
Clemson pitcher Millie Thompson sails off from the postgame news conference Sunday while wearing her captain's hat.

Thompson sometimes wears a pink captain's hat, one of Clemson's dugout props. But she isn't going anywhere near the sea.

A postgame dousing is as close as she's coming to a nautical adventure.

"I think it was just the moment," Thompson said. "That could be symbolism of how they push me in any type of situation. I hate water and I went and did it for them. That's how it is with any fear I have. They back me up."

More: Clemson softball inspired to win in NCAA Regional by coach's speech, whatever he said

More: Med school can wait for Clemson's Cammy Pereira to finish her softball career

Clemson scored seven runs in the top of the fourth inning to bring the mercy rule in play. Aby Viera hit a home run to get things started. With two out, ninth-place batter Maddie Moore fouled off a two-strike pitch and then doubled in a run. Two more scored on a single by Pereira, who was 3-for-3. After a bunt single, Cagle crushed a three-run homer.

"I just try to be consistent and then let Val come up and do the big stuff," said Pereira, a graduate transfer from Furman.

The only hit against Thompson was a two-out soft single that landed near the right field line. She struck out five and walked one. She used her change-up to strike out back-to-back hitters in the first, and the Louisiana batters were baffled the rest of the game.

"I didn't have my team prepared for Millie Thompson," Louisiana coach Gerry Glasco said. "We knew who Valerie Cagle was. ... Millie was the problem. That change-up really worked us over."

"I felt like they were trying to hit home runs and see how far the ball could go," Thompson said. "And that's who I love to pitch against."

Todd Shanesy covers Clemson athletics for the USA Today network.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Clemson softball wins NCAA Regional by mercy rule against Louisiana