BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Belmont Abbey College softball team launched three home runs and held Lees-McRae College to one run on six hits en route to a doubleheader sweep on Saturday afternoon in Conference Carolinas play at the Bobcat Softball Field.
Belmont Abbey (13-33, 6-14 CC) won game one by a tally of 4-0, while defeating Lees-McRae (13-32, 4-14 CC) by a 5-1 margin in the night cap. The Abbey collected 16 base knocks on the day, including four extra-base hits, as the Bobcats hit the ball hard but were unable to find a hole.
The Bobcats honored seniors Kim Coley (Marion, N.C.), Laurel Gregg (Mars Hill, N.C.), Lindsey Huntsinger (Asheville, N.C.), and Amanda Leonard (Lincolnton, N.C.) prior to the first pitch of game one with their annual senior day celebration. Kristen Oakes (Lenoir, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with two hits on the day, driving in a run in game two, as Coley, Karli Robb (Hayes, Va.), Kierstie Moon (Oxford, Ga.), and Alison Armstrong (Bellingham, Mass.) each collected a base knock.
Gregg took the ball in game one, surrendering three earned runs on eight hits while striking out four in a complete-game effort. Holli Crickenberger (Boydton, Va.) got the nod in the nightcap, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out four in five innings of work. Oakes tossed the final two innings, allowing one earned run and striking out two.
Aleshia Peek led the way for Belmont Abbey with a 4-for-7 day, launching three home runs and driving in four, as Carol-Anne Sherrill added three hits of her own. Kelly Schweizer and Shannon Arthur each collected two hits, as Peek and Schweizer scored three and two runs, respectively. Nikki Faust tossed a gem in game one, scattering three hits across seven shutout innings and striking out two. Emily Self took the ball in game two, allowing one run on three hits in seven innings of work.
Game One: Belmont Abbey 4, Lees-McRae 0 (Box Score)
The Abbey got on the board early in game one, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Arthur drove in Schweizer from third. Belmont Abbey added a run in the fourth, pushing the lead to 2-0 following Peek's first home run of the day, a solo shot.
The Crusaders would double the margin to 4-0 with two runs in the sixth after RBI base knocks by Amber Faust and Katie Childers. Nikki Faust would allow just one runner to reach scoring position over the course of the contest, surrendering a leadoff double to Coley in the seventh before retiring the next three batters in order to close out the win.
Game Two: Belmont Abbey 5, Lees-McRae 1 (Box Score)
Belmont Abbey struck first in the nightcap, taking a 1-0 lead in the second on a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Brooke Baliles that allowed pinch-runner Kaylie Mae Kuhnke to scamper home from third. The Bobcats would answer in the bottom of the inning, knotting the score at 1-1 when Oakes stroked an RBI single to right center after Robb led off the frame with a double.
The Abbey countered with a run in the top of the third, reclaiming the lead at 2-1 when Peek launched a solo home run to right. Peek would drive in another run in the fifth with an RBI single, before launching her third solo home run of the day in the seventh as part of a two-run inning that pushed the margin to 5-1. Self would finish strong in the circle for Belmont Abbey, retiring the final 10 batters she faced to clinch the twin-bill sweep.
Lees-McRae returns to the diamond on Sunday when the Bobcats host Mount Olive College in a conference twin-bill at 2 p.m. on the Bobcat Softball Field.
- LMC -