Photo Courtesy of Matt Jones
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College softball team will head to Burlington, North Carolina this weekend to compete in the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament. The Bobcats, who drew the No. 5 seed in the field, will begin the tournament Friday morning at 11 a.m. with a matchup against fourth-seeded Mount Olive.
Last Time Out – The Bobcats closed out their regular season with a sweep against Converse College last Thursday at home. Lees-McRae shut the Valkyries out in game one, 8-0, before finishing off the sweep with a 5-2 triumph in game two. With the pair of victories, the Bobcats close out the regular season with a record of 17-17 overall and 11-9 in league play.
No-No for the senior – In case you missed it, senior Kara Cunningham pitched five-inning no-hitter against Converse in Lees-McRae's 8-0 victory last Thursday. Cunningham's no-no is the first for a Bobcat pitcher since 2006 when Hannah Morgan held St. Andrews to a zero in the hit column in another five inning contest. On top of the no-hitter, Cunningham's shutout was the 11th of her career, which breaks the program's all-time record in that category.
About the Tournament Field – This weekend's tournament will have eight teams competing in a double elimination format in hopes of attaining the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. In addition to Mount Olive and Lees-McRae, the other schools that qualified for the tournament are: No. 1 Erskine, No. 2 King, No. 3 North Greenville, No. 6 Southern Wesleyan, No. 7 Belmont Abbey and No. 8 Limestone. The event is scheduled to run Friday through Sunday from Burlington's Springwood Park Complex. For updated brackets, game times and multimedia links throughout the weekend, please visit the tournament central page HERE.
Bobcats in the Postseason – Lees-McRae will be making their third consecutive trip to the league tournament this weekend. The Bobcats have won at least one game in the tournament in each of the last two years. The best performance for Lees-McRae in the league's showcase event was back in 2011 when it reached the championship game.
About Mount Olive – UMO enters the tournament as the hottest team in the field riding a 10-game winning streak. Additionally, Mount Olive is tied for the most wins of any team in the league this season with 33. The Trojans are a balanced team hitting .312 collectively and their pitching staff boasts an ERA of 1.97. Furthermore, Mount Olive is the top team in the conference on the base paths as it has stolen 115 bases this spring.
Series Rewind vs. UMO – The Bobcats and Trojans split the two games this season. Lees-McRae won the first game, 1-0, in eight innings but dropped game two, 3-1. Friday's matchup between the two programs will mark the third straight season that they have met in the tournament and in both instances they have been elimination games. UMO ended Lees-McRae's season in 2018, and the Bobcats did the same thing for the Trojans back in 2017.