BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Lauren Lewis (Concord, N.C.) capped a five-run rally with a walk-off single in game one, and Brooke Sheridan (Rosman, N.C.) crossed the plate four times to lead the Lees-McRae College softball team to a doubleheader split with Concord University in the Bobcats' home opener on Wednesday afternoon at the Bobcat Softball Field.
Lees-McRae (6-25) outhit Concord (12-11) by a 20-16 margin in the twin-bill, including a 10-6 advantage in the opener, as the Mountain Lions launched three home runs and tallied a total of five extra-base hits.
Sadie Lagle (Harmony, N.C.) led the way for the Bobcats with a 4-for-7 afternoon, driving in two runs and scoring two of her own to pace a group of six players for Lees-McRae with a multi-hit day. Jessica Smith (Gastonia, N.C.), Kristen Oakes (Lenoir, N.C.) and Sheridan each collected three base hits in the twin-bill, as Sheridan scored four runs and Amanda Decker (Apex, N.C.) drove in three.
Hollie Crickenberger (Boydton, Va.) got the nod in game one for the Bobcats, surrendering one earned run on six hits and striking out five to earn the victory. Oakes took the ball in the night cap, walking five and striking out six in seven innings of work.
Alyssa Morris paced the Mountain Lions with a 3-for-6 day, launching two home runs and driving in four. Rachael Mack and Lacey McDougall each picked up three hits, as McDougall and Jessica Seymour both drove in a trio of runs.
McDougall took the ball in the opener, allowing four earned runs and striking out five in six and two-thirds innings. Mack got the start in game two, surrendering one earned run and striking out three through seven frames.
Game One: Lees-McRae 6, Concord 5 (Box Score)
Concord opened the scoring in the top of the second, taking an early 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Hayley Wade, before Oakes scampered home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning to even the tally at 1-1 for the Bobcats.
The Mountain Lions would add two in the third and two in the fourth, reclaiming the advantage at 5-1 on a two-run homer by a Morris, followed by a two RBI single from Seymour in the fourth. The Bobcats began to rally in the fifth, cutting the lead to 5-3 on back-to-back RBI base knocks by Hanna Huckabee (Oak Ridge, N.C.) and Lagle with two outs.
Lees-McRae picked up where they left off in the seventh, recording three straight one-out hits to cut the advantage to 5-4 on an RBI single by Smith after Oakes doubled to left center. Alison Armstrong (Bellingham, Mass.) then drove in Oakes with a well-placed grounder to short, scoring the sophomore from third to knot the game at 5-5.
Lewis delivered perhaps the biggest clutch hit of her young Bobcat career moments later, dropping a 3-1 pitch into right center to plate Smith from second, and give the Bobcats a walk-off 6-5 victory.
Game Two: Concord 9, Lees-McRae 5 (Box Score)
The Bobcats got on the board first in the night cap, taking an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Decker singled to right and Sheridan scored when the Concord right fielder misplayed the ball. Lees-McRae would maintain the advantage into the top of the fifth, when the Mountain Lions plated six runs on three straight two-run hits to take a 6-1 lead.
Concord would add two in the sixth, pushing the margin to 8-1 on a solo shot by Seymour and a single by McDougall before the Bobcats responded in the bottom of the inning, cutting the lead to 8-2 when Sheridan scored on a single by Oakes. The Mountain Lions countered with a run in the top of the seventh, stretching the advantage to 9-2 on a Bobcat miscue.
The Bobcats fought back in the bottom of the inning, putting runners on first and third with two outs for Lagle following a single by Sheridan. Lagle answered the call, driving in Lewis with a single to right center before Decker stroked a double to center, plating Lagle and Sheridan to cut the lead to 9-5.
The Mountain Lions would quell the rally during the next at-bat, forcing an inning-ending groundout to close out the victory and salvage a split in the twin-bill.
Lees-McRae returns to the diamond on Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Wilson, N.C. to resume their Conference Carolinas schedule with a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader against Barton College.
- LMC -