BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Meagan Knowles (West Palm Beach, Fla.) belted her third career home run in the bottom of the seventh inning in game two of a Conference Carolinas softball doubleheader between Lees-McRae College and Queens University on Sunday, sending the contest into extra innings before the Royals plated two in the ninth to complete the twin-bill sweep.
Knowles, Anna Carter (Hurdle Mills, N.C.), Paige Coleman (Thomasville, N.C.), and Magen West (Whitney, Texas) wrapped up their home schedule for Lees-McRae (20-25, 8-8 CC), as the Royals (18-15, 10-6 CC) dealt the Bobcats two heartbreaking losses. West pitched five strong innings in her final home performance, scattering eight hits, striking out three, and allowing one earned run in the twin-bill opener.
Keeya Turner tallied a 6-for-9 effort from the plate to lead the Royals, driving in one run and scoring three on the afternoon. Brandy Jester and Chantel Dodge combined to allow just ten hits on the day in the double dip, striking out 11 Bobcat batters.
Game One: Queens (N.C.) 6, Lees-McRae 1 (Box Score)
The Royals wasted no time claiming the early lead, taking advantage of a Bobcat miscue in the top of the first to grab the 2-0 advantage when Dodge and Turner crossed the dish with two outs. Turner added the third score of the day in the top of the third inning, opening with a one-out single to left, and scoring on a Kaitlyn Cheek double down the left field line to give Queens the 3-0 lead.
After Queens added another run in the top of the fifth to push the lead to 4-0, Bryce Campbell (Amherst, Va.) broke through for the Bobcats in the bottom of the inning, breaking up the no-hit effort with a single through the left side. Jessica Smith (Gastonia, N.C.) took Campbell's place on the bases, scoring on a wild pitch two batters later to cut the margin to 4-1.
The Royals then added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh, when Alisha Waldrop lined a 1-2 offering down the line for a two-run home run to equal the final tally of 6-1 in the opener. Jester threw seven innings, allowing just three hits to shut down the Bobcats in game one.
Game Two: Queens (N.C.) 6, Lees-McRae 4 - 9 innings (Box Score)
The Bobcats opened scoring in the home half of the first in the second contest, as Coleman ripped a two out double to right field to plate Lindsey Huntsinger (Asheville, N.C.) to give the Bobcats the early 1-0 lead.
The Royals responded in the top of the fifth inning, plating three runs on three hits in the frame. Dodge laced a double to right field to score two, crossing the dish for the third run on the next pitch when Turner singled to second to give Queens the 3-1 margin.
Lees-McRae answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth when Huntsinger blasted her 12th home run of the season, sending a frozen rope over the left field fence to cut the Royal advantage to one at 3-2.
The Royals added a tally in the top of the seventh with two straight two-out doubles to left to plate Turner to take a 4-2 lead into the home half of the inning.
After the Bobcats registered two quick outs in the bottom of the inning, Lori Fulmer (Prosperity, S.C.) started the rally with a single down the left field line to bring up Knowles with two down. The senior outfielder battled through a long at-bat, running the count full before sending a 3-2 fastball over the left field fence to even the score at 4-4 and send the game into extra innings.
The Royals struck in the top of the ninth inning, scoring two runs to grab the 6-4 victory in the contest. Laurel Gregg (Mars Hill, N.C.) pitched nine strong innings in the loss, striking out five and scattering ten hits on the day.
Lees-McRae returns to the diamond on Tuesday when the Bobcats travel to Laurinburg, N.C. to take on St. Andrews Presbyterian College to wrap up their regular season schedule. Game time in Laurinburg is slated for 1 p.m.
- LMC -