Bobcats power way to split with Bears

Box score

RALEIGH, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College softball team continued its strong start to the season on Monday, splitting a doubleheader with Shaw University as the Bears rallied for a 9-8 extra-inning victory in game one before the Bobcat offense exploded for a 15-3 rout in the night cap.

Lees-McRae (3-1) scored 23 runs on 26 hits in the twin-bill, including 15 tallies on 17 base knocks in the night cap, while holding Shaw (1-3) to 12 runs on 13 hits. Lindsey Huntsinger (Asheville, N.C.) continued to swing a hot bat in the early season, going 5-for-8 in the twin-bill with four RBI to lead a group of six Bobcats with multi-hit days.

Paige Coleman (Thomasville, N.C.) and Kim Coley (Marion, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with five RBI each on the day, as Coleman joined Huntsinger, Anna Carter (Hurdle Mills, N.C.) and Laurel Gregg (Mars Hill, N.C.) with one home run apiece. Carter and Coley each tallied four base knocks on the afternoon for the Bobcats, while Karli Robb (Hayes, Va.) recorded a team-high two triples.

Gregg (1-1) got the nod in game one, allowing six runs (two earned) on five hits in six and two-thirds innings of work. Magen West (Whitney, Texas) (2-0) earned the win in the night cap, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out four Bears. Hollie Crickenberger (Boydton, Va.) threw an inning of relief in game two, allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits.

Emily Montgomery (Gainesville, Fla.) paced the Bears with four hits in seven at-bats to lead a group of four Shaw players with multi-hit days. Monica Grimmage (Georgetown, S.C.), Kashia Hemphill (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Erica Lafrades (Pittsburg, Calif.) each tallied two hits as Lafrades recorded a team-high two home runs and four RBI.

Shakia Pledger (Atlanta, Ga.) made the start in game one for the Bears, striking out five and allowing nine hits in eight innings of work. Daniela Archibald (Bogota, Columbia) got the nod in game two, pitching the first three frames before Pledger entered in relief to finish out the contest.

Game One: Shaw 9, Lees-McRae 8 (8 innings) (Box Score)

Lees-McRae opened the scoring in the top of the third inning, pushing across three runs on a Coley RBI single, a Bear error, and a one-run double by Huntsinger to take an early 3-0 lead. Shaw answered in the bottom of the frame, plating three runs of its own to knot the score at 3-3 on a two-run home run by Lafrades and an RBI double by Grimmage.

The Bobcats countered with two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to reclaim a 7-4 lead, as Coley roped a two-run single in the fourth and Carter delivered a two-run shot in the fifth. Shaw rallied with a run in the fourth and two in the sixth, cutting the lead to 7-6 heading into the seventh inning.

Lees-McRae added to its total in the seventh, taking an 8-6 advantage on an RBI single by Meagan Knowles (West Palm Beach, Fla.). The Bears would rally once again, scoring twice in the seventh on a two-run home run by Montgomery to send the game into extra innings. Shaw then produced the deciding tally in the eighth when Pledger reached on a Bobcat error, allowing Jolene Arroyo (Newburgh, N.Y.) to score the winning run.

Game Two: Lees-McRae 15, Shaw 3 (6 innings) (Box Score)

Lees-McRae got on the board early in game two, taking an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Huntsinger launched a solo home run with two outs. The Bobcats extended the lead to 2-0 in the third on a solo shot by Coleman before erupting for six runs in the fourth to push the lead to 8-0. Lees-McRae's fourth-inning eruption featured a bases-clearing double by Coleman sandwiched between RBI singles from Huntsinger and Carter.

Shaw tallied its first run of the game in the bottom of the inning, trimming the margin to 8-1 on an RBI single by Erneisha Cooper that scored Phtyina Hyde from third. After Lees-McRae notched another run in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Coley, Shaw struck back with a pair of tallies in the bottom of the frame, cutting the lead to 9-3 on a two-run home run by Lafrades.

The Bobcats responded with another big inning in the sixth, scoring an additional six runs on a Gregg home run, RBI triples by Robb and Huntsinger, a Shaw error, and a Coleman RBI single to stretch the lead to 15-3. West then shut the door in the bottom of the frame, retiring the Bears in order to close out the win.

Lees-McRae returns to the diamond on Tuesday when the Bobcats travel to Jefferson City, Tenn. to take on NCAA Division II Southeast Region foe Carson-Newman College in a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.

- LMC -