Photo Courtesy of Sammy Croft
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College softball team will return to action this week with three doubleheaders, including its first conference games of the 2018 season. LMC will begin the week with a twin bill at Limestone Wednesday. Following their matchups against Saints, the Bobcats will head to Southern Wesleyan Saturday before hosting Milligan Sunday in Banner Elk. Wednesday's games are slated to begin at 2 p.m., while Saturday's and Sunday's contests are scheduled for 1 p.m. first pitches.
Last Time Out – LMC last played on March 3 at Catawba where it split a pair of games against the Indians. Lees-McRae won the first game by a score of 4-1 before falling by the exact same score in game two. With those results, the Bobcats moved to 5-13 on the campaign.
Bats are key for the Bobcats – Lees-McRae's success this spring can be traced to its success in the batter's box. In the team's five victories, LMC boasts a team batting average of .315 with 24 runs scored. On the flip side in their 13 losses, the Bobcats are hitting .195 as a team with 22 runs scored in those contests.
Spark from Senior – Senior Sarah Tucker has been one of LMC's top hitters this spring with a .320 batting average with three doubles and three RBI. Additionally, Tucker's best spot in the batting order in 2018 has been out of the fifth spot as she is hitting .435 in 23 at-bats. When Tucker's spot in the order is anything other than fifth, the Monroe, North Carolina native is hitting .222 in 27 at-bats.
Freshman finding Success – Just like Tucker, freshman Katie Robinson has been a major part of the Bobcat offense this season. Robinson, who ranks seventh in the conference with a .390 batting average, is tied for the team-lead in hits (16), home runs (1), walks (6), on-base percentage (.468) and slugging percentage (.463).
About the Opponents – Limestone is the only team that the Bobcats will face this week with a winning record this season as it has an overall mark of 13-8. The strength of Limestone in 2018 has been its pitching staff. The Saints have a team ERA of 1.59 in 145.1 innings pitched, which is the lowest mark in the conference by nearly half a run per game.
Southern Wesleyan enters this week's action with a record of 5-13 on its 2018 season. SWU has been led by sophomore Becca White who not only paces the team in batting average (.369) but also in stolen bases (9).
Milligan, which is a NAIA institution from Elizabethton, Tennessee, is 4-8 this spring with its victories coming against Lincoln Memorial, Glenville State, Cumberlands and Point. One strength for the Buffaloes has been their ability to run the bases. Collectively, Milligan has swiped 15 bases in 18 attempts.