Bobcats storm past Bulldogs in sweep

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Paige Coleman (Thomasville, N.C.) went 3-for-6 from the plate, including a home run and five RBI to pace the Lees-McRae College softball team to a sweep of Barton College on Saturday in Conference Carolinas play.

Lori Fulmer (Prosperity, S.C.) pieced together a 5-for-6 effort at the dish, scoring a run and driving in another, while Anna Carter (Hurdle Mills, N.C.) and Karli Robb (Hayes, Va.) each collected a 4-for-6 effort to pace the Bobcats (20-23, 8-6 CC) to the sweep.

Jessica McFadden was a bright spot for the Bulldogs (17-25, 3-11 CC), tallying three hits to pace Barton on the day.

Game One: Lees-McRae 9, Barton 0 - 6 innings (Box Score)

Barton threatened in the top of the second when Samantha Colein singled up the middle before moving to second on a sacrifice by Cassie Blackmon. Autumn Herrin followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with one out. Colein and Herrin each moved up 60 feet on a ground out, putting runners on second and third with two outs. Gregg ended the threat, getting the Bulldogs to ground out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, the Bobcats loaded the bases with two outs for Coleman, who laced a single to the right-center field fence to drive in Fulmer and Kierstie Moon (Oxford, Ga.) to put LMC up 2-0.

Kim Coley (Marion, N.C.) crossed the plate in the bottom of the fourth to give the Bobcats a 3-0 advantage before Lees-McRae added four in the home half of the fifth inning. Robb singled through the left side to open the fifth, and moved to second when Lindsey Huntsinger (Asheville, N.C.) walked. Following an out, Huntsinger and Robb advanced when Coley walked to load the bases for the second straight inning.

Carter followed with a single into left to plate Robb and extend the lead to four, chasing Elizabeth Webb with one out in the inning. Following the second out of the inning, the Bobcats continued the rally with Fulmer and Meagan Knowles (West Palm Beach, Fla.) each singling in a run to extend the Bobcat advantage to 6-0. Alison Armstrong (Bellingham, Mass.) added the seventh run on a Moon walk to make it a 7-0 Bobcat lead after five innings.

Following the top of the sixth inning, a 55 minute rain delay halted play as a thunderstorm passed through the area. The Bobcats stormed out of the gate following the delay. Huntsinger opened with a bullet to third, reaching on an error, before moving to second on a wild pitch. Coleman ended the opener, ripping a 2-2 pitch over the right-center field fence to give the Bobcats a 9-0 victory.

Laurel Gregg (Mars Hill, N.C.) pitched six strong innings for the Bobcats, allowing three hits, and walking two en route to her tenth victory of the season.

Game Two: Lees-McRae 3, Barton 0 (Box Score)

Robb opened the Bobcat scoring in the third inning, singling to first and scoring on a Coleman single to right center. The Bobcats added two more in the bottom of the fifth when Huntsinger belted a home run over the center field fence to give LMC a 3-0 advantage.

Three runs proved to be more than enough for Magen West (Whitney, Texas), who allowed seven hits in six shutout innings to earn her ninth victory of the season. Hollie Crickenberger (Boydton, Va.) picked up her second save of the season, retiring the side in the seventh to seal the Bobcat victory.

The Bobcats return to the diamond on Sunday against Queens University of Charlotte in conference play. Senior day festivities are slated to get underway at 2 p.m. on Bobcat Field.

- LMC -