Photo courtesy of Matt Jones
BURLINGTON, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College softball team won a pair of one-run games to open the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament on Friday (Apr. 26), knocking off No. 4 Mount Olive 3-2 before defeating No. 8 Limestone 2-1.
Game One - After a pair of scoreless innings to open the game, the Bobcats would break through to take a 3-0 lead on Mount Olive in the top of the third. Bryanna Thomas got things going with a one-out walk, before Julie Gast reached on a Mount Olive error that allowed her to get to third and Thomas to score unearned. A two-out RBI single through the right side by Kara Cunningham would score Gast unearned, before a Faith Cooke double to left center would score Cunningham unearned to leave the Bobcats up 3-0. Cunningham was in a groove in the circle, able to hold Mount Olive off the scoreboard until the final frame. The Trojans mounted a rally with one out in the seventh, which began with a walk and after three consecutive hits, left the Trojans down 3-2 with two runners in scoring position. Cunningham was able to extinguish the rally with back-to-back strikeouts to secure the victory for Lees-McRae.
Lees-McRae totaled four hits and no errors defensively in game one, while Mount Olive totaled eight hits and committed two errors. Noel Cassidy, Cunningham, Cooke and Katie Robinson recorded one hit apiece for the Bobcats. Cunningham and Cooke drove in runs in the contest, while Gast, Cunningham and Thomas each scored once. Cunningham (11-8) earned the win in the circle for Lees-McRae, firing a complete game and allowing two earned runs on eight hits while walking five and punching out eight.
Game Two - Eighth-seeded Limestone began the scoring with one run in the first, before the Bobcats would knot the game in the bottom of the second. The inning began with a double down the right field line from Emily Merriam, who advanced to third on a groundout by Katelyn Wyatt. Mallory Myers would single through the right side with one out to bring pinch runner Emily King home. Lees-McRae would score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth, which began with back-to-back walks drawn by Cooke and Merriam. Wyatt would single through the right side to bring home Cooke to put the Bobcats ahead 2-1. Coming on in relief of Cassidy Largen, Cunningham would allow just three Limestone runners over the final three innings to secure the second win of the day for the Bobcats.
Lees-McRae notched seven hits in the win, while Limestone was held to just four. Wyatt registered two base hits in the game, while four others each recorded one hit apiece. Wyatt and Myers each drove in runs in the game, while Cooke and King each scored once. Cunningham (12-8) picked up her second win of the day, firing six innings of scoreless relief allowing just two hits while issuing three free passes and firing 11 strikeouts. Largen got the start in game two, allowing one earned run on two hits while walking and striking out two each in one inning.
Up Next - The Bobcats (19-17) are back in action tomorrow (Saturday, Apr. 27) for day two of the Conference Carolinas tournament, where they will face Southern Wesleyan at 2 p.m. Video and live stats can be found here.