Cunningham breaks career strikeout record as Bobcats split at Emmanuel Sunday

Cunningham breaks career strikeout record as Bobcats split at Emmanuel Sunday

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Turner

FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga. – The Lees-McRae College softball team picked up a split on the road at Emmanuel (GA) College Sunday afternoon. Lees-McRae fell in game one 4-3 in eight innings before bouncing back to game two, 6-5. Furthermore, senior Kara Cunningham became the program's all-time strikeout leader with 11 strikeouts against the Lions bringing her career total to 434.

Game 1 Recap –The Bobcats plated the first run of the game in the top of the first with an unearned marker on a fielder's choice. The Lions answered in the bottom of the first with a two-run blast by Caitlin Parks, who leads the league in home runs, to give Emmanuel its first lead of the afternoon. Lees-McRae would tie the score at 2-2 after a one-out double Bryanna Thomas setup a RBI single by Sarah Beth Thomas in the next plate appearance.

It only took one extra frame to decide a winner in game one. The Bobcats gained the lead first in the top half of the eighth after Thomas scored Emily King with a single to make it 3-2 Lees-McRae. Emmanuel would answer in the bottom of the inning though. A bunt single by Isabelle Petty pushed Alexis Costlow up to third base. Petty then stole second base to put not only the tying run but also the game-winning run in scoring positon. A wild pitch would score Costlow before an error scored Petty giving the Lions a 4-3 victory.

Offensively, the Bobcats were led by the duo of Julie Gast and Thomas. Gast went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Thomas went 2-for-2 with a RBI. It marks the third time in her last seven games Thomas has had a multi-hit game at the plate.

Cunningham ended up being the tough luck losing pitcher in game one moving her record to 7-6 on the spring. The senior pitcher worked 7.1 innings allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits to go with 11 strikeouts. Sunday's 11 strikeouts continues a trend for Cunningham as she has logged double figure strikeout totals in three of her last four starts. As mentioned earlier, the 11 strikeouts made Cunningham Lees-McRae's all-time strikeout leader with 434 surpassing Hannah Morgan's (2004-2006) 430 strikeouts.

Game 2 Recap – After being held relatively quiet in game one, the Bobcat offense came alive in game two. Eight of the nine Bobcats in the starting lineup picked up at least one hit in the contest to help the team salvage a split against the Lions with a 6-5 victory.

Faith Cooke was the lone Bobcat to post multiple hits in game two with a triple and a single. Cunningham scored pair of runs, while Katie Robinson drove in a pair. Gast, Cunningham, Cooke and Mallory Myers drove in the other four runs for Lees-McRae in the contest.

Cassidy Largen picked up her third victory of the season moving her record to 3-1. Largen worked the first six innings allowing five runs on five hits. Cunningham worked a scoreless seventh inning to earn the save as well.

Next Up – The Bobcats will return to action next Saturday when they play host to Belmont Abbey in another Conference Carolinas twin bill. Lees-McRae and Belmont Abbey are scheduled to get underway at 1 p.m. from the LMC Softball Field.

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