DUE WEST, S.C. --- Laurel Gregg (Mars Hill, N.C.) hurled eight scoreless innings and struck out ten Erskine College batters to pace the Lees-McRae College softball team to a 1-0 victory in game one of a Conference Carolinas twin-bill on Thursday afternoon. The Flying Fleet (17-14-1, 10-4 CC) utilized a walk-off home run to grasp victory in game two, with Larissa Shannon blasting the winner to earn a 3-1 Fleet victory over the Bobcats (18-23, 6-6 CC).
Gregg struck out ten and allowed just three hits en route to her ninth win of the season, pacing the Bobcats to the game one victory. Alison Armstrong (Bellingham, Mass.) and Paige Coleman (Thomasville, N.C.) each tallied an RBI for Lees-McRae on the day.
Shannon's blast in the bottom of the ninth inning in game two tallied the final two runs for Erskine on the day, picking up the walk-off victory to battle to a split with the Bobcats. Heather Richey earned the victory for the Fleet, throwing nine solid innings, allowing one run and five hits from the cirlcle.
Game One: Lees-McRae 1, Erskine 0 - 8 innings (Box Score)
The Bobcats overcame an early spark from the Fleet in the opening frame, shutting down the Erskine threat when Shannon and Morgan Purcell reached to put runners on second and third with two out. Gregg then registered her second strikeout of the day to close the first inning and keep the scoreboard unblemished.
Coleman broke through in the top of the fifth inning, reaching base on a leadoff single to break up Kelsey Spurrier's no-hit attempt. The Bobcats threatened again in the sixth, putting Kierstie Moon (Oxford, Ga.) and Karli Robb (Hayes, Va.) at second and third before a strike out quelled the threat and moved action into the seventh inning.
The Bobcats struck in the top half of the eighth inning, taking advantage of the tie-break rule and opening the inning with Anna Carter (Hurdle Mills, N.C.) at second. Armstrong took advantage, ripping a single to score Carter and give LMC the 1-0 advantage. Gregg closed the contest in the bottom of the inning, retiring the side in order to earn the win.
Game Two: Erskine 3, Lees-McRae 1 - 9 innings (Box Score)
Moon opened the second contest in the top of the first, drawing a leadoff walk and moving to second on a sacrifice play from Robb with one out. Coleman garnered an RBI two batters later, stroking a single to drive in Moon and give the Bobcats the 1-0 advantage.
The Bobcats held the one-run advantage until the home half of the seventh inning, when Purcell roped a double to open the frame. Following a groundout and a strikeout, Whitney Brown laced a single to the grass to score Purcell and send the game into extra innings tied at 1-1.
The Fleet battled to shut down the Bobcats in the next two innings. Jocelyn Smith opened the ninth inning at second and following a strikeout, crossed the plate when Shannon belted the game winner over the fence to give Erskine the walk-off victory.
Magen West (Whitney, Texas) allowed four hits and struck out four in eight and one-third innings pitched, falling to 8-10 on the year in a tough battle.
Lees-McRae returns to the diamond on Saturday when the Bobcats play host to Barton College in Conference Carolinas play. Game time on Saturday is slated for a 1 p.m. start in Banner Elk, N.C. The Bobcats wrap up their home schedule on Sunday, hosting Queens University of Charlotte in conference play on Bobcat Field. Game time on Sunday is slated for 2 p.m.