Bobcats sweep Knights to finish conference play

LAURINBURG, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College softball team (22-25, 10-8 CC) swept the Knights of St. Andrews Presbyterian College (4-33, 2-16 CC) on Wednesday to wrap up its 2011 conference season, recording a 6-3 win in game one before taking the night cap by a score of 8-0 in five innings.

The Bobcats notched a total of 12 hits, five for extra bases, to score 14 runs in the afternoon's doubleheader. Seniors Meagan Knowles (West Palm Beach, Fla.), and Paige Coleman (Thomasville, N.C.), as well as junior Lindsey Huntsinger (Asheville, N.C.) all had multi-hit games on the day.

Lees-McRae pitchers Laurel Gregg (Mars Hill, N.C.) and Magen West (Whitney, Texas) both received wins on the day allowing only two and four hits, respectively.

Game One: Lees-McRae 6, St. Andrews 3 (Box Score)

The Bobcats struck first in the top of the second inning as Anna Carter (Hurdle Mills, N.C.), who was walked to lead off the inning, scored on an overthrow at third base.

The Bobcats tacked on three more runs in the top of the third inning on three hits and one St. Andrews error. Huntsinger led off the inning, lacing a double into left center. Coleman followed with the second double of the inning to right field, plating Huntsinger.

Kim Coley (Marion, N.C.) had the Bobcat's third hit of the inning, knocking a single up the middle. Coleman and Coley would come around to score later in the frame, putting the Bobcats up 4-0 going into the bottom of the third inning. Lees-McRae then capitalized on three walks and one Knights error to tally two final runs in the fourth inning.

The Knights offense remained quiet throughout the first four innings, as Gregg struck out three and limited St. Andrews to two hits and no earned runs. Bryce Campbell (Amherst, Va.) entered the circle in the bottom of the fifth inning, and kept the Knights from scoring for two full innings.

St. Andrews started to rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring three runs on three hits in the frame. St. Andrews first baseman Natalie Whitman (North Tonawanda, N.Y.) led off the inning, reaching base on a Bobcat error.

Another error put runners at first and second for Ashley Disque (Prince Frederick, M.D.), who laced a double to right center, scoring one run for the Knights. Two more St. Andrews runs scored when Tiffany Harris (Columbia, S.C.) singled down the left field line. Campbell was able to stifle the Knights rally, striking out two to end the game with a final score of 6-3.

Game Two: Lees-McRae 8, St. Andrews 0 - 5 innings (Box Score)

The Bobcats carried their offense into the second game, scoring one in the first inning to gain an early lead. Lady Knights pitcher Disque issued a one-out walk to Karli Robb (Hayes, Va.), who was quickly plated by a double from Huntsinger.

After a quiet first from the Knights, the Bobcats scratched another run in the top of the second inning to double the early lead to 2-0. They scored once again in the third inning, pushing the margin to 3-0 going into the bottom of the fourth inning.

West held the Knights off the scoreboard through the first four innings, striking out one and scattering four hits.

The Bobcats' bats came alive in the top of the fifth inning, plating five runs to push the lead to 8-0. A double from Coleman scored Huntsinger, who had led off the inning with a walk. Two batters were hit by pitches, loading the bases for Campbell, who hit a long sacrifice fly to left field, plating another Bobcat.

Lori Fulmer (Prosperity, S.C.) then hammered a single into left field, scoring Lees-McRae's sixth run of the contest. Two more Bobcats would cross the plate in the inning, pushing the score to 8-0 going into the Knights' half of the fifth inning. Freshman Hollie Crickenberger (Boydton, Va.) took the circle to close out the game, striking out two as the Bobcats won the game by virtue of the eight-run-rule.

The Bobcats wrap up the regular season with a 10-8 record in Conference Carolinas play, marking the program's first winning record in league action. Lees-McRae concludes the regular campaign tied for third place in the conference standings, earning the fifth seed in this weekend's Conference Carolinas Tournament after Coker College and Queens University of Charlotte won the tiebreakers over the Bobcats.

Lees-McRae returns to the diamond on Friday, traveling to Hartsville, S.C. to take on Queens (18-17, 10-8 CC) in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament, hosted by Coker. The Bobcats and Royals will square off at 9 a.m.

- LMC -