Cunningham Twirls Shutout; LMC Softball Earns Split with Barton

Cunningham Twirls Shutout; LMC Softball Earns Split with Barton

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Freshman Kara Cunningham twirled a complete game shutout in the opener and Charlie Dutton drove in a pair of runs in the second game while the Lees-McRae softball team split with Barton in Conference Carolinas play Sunday afternoon at the LMC Softball Field in Banner Elk, N.C.

Lees-McRae 1, Barton 0
The Bobcats (8-31, 4-11 CC) scored the game's lone run in the bottom of the first. The Bulldogs (18-22, 6-11) saw Taylor Bowden produce a multi-hit game.

BC threatened in the top of the first when a pair of runners reached with two outs, but Cunningham (Indian Trail, N.C.) got Hannah Jones to groundout to end the threat.

The freshman opened the bottom of the first with a leadoff walk before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Karly McRary (Marion, N.C.).

Freshman Emily Merriam (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) swatted a one-hop double to center, allowing Cunningham to score.

The Bulldogs put runners on second and third in the fourth after a Bowden single and Jones walk. Cunningham (2-11) buckled down and escaped the jam thanks to a pair of pop ups.

LMC's Noel Cassidy (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) roped a two-out double to left center in the sixth, but was stranded after a flyout.

BC attempted one last charge in the seventh after a leadoff single.

Cassidy hosed Briana Jackson at second base on a stolen base attempt before Cunningham induced a pair of grounders to end the contest.

The shutout was the first of Cunningham's young career and the first for a Bobcat pitcher in conference play since April 6, 2014 (vs. Belmont Abbey).

Cunningham needed 110 pitches and four strikes to complete the gem.

Barton 3, Lees-McRae 2
The Bulldogs (19-22, 7-11) scored all three of their runs in the top of the first. The Bobcats (8-32, 4-12) saw seven different players record a hit.

BC struck early and often in the opening frame had runners on second and third with one out following a single and fielder's choice.

Kelsie Conner plated two with a single, but was assisted by a Bobcat error, allowing the second run to score.

Bowden plated Conner one batter later with a RBI single through the left side.

Cassidy ended the threat by throwing out another runner at second.

Both pitchers settled in until the fourth.

The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out, but LMC's Dutton (Monroe, Ga.) helped her own cause by inducing a 1-2-3 double play to thwart the threat.

Dutton drove in a run in the bottom of the fourth with a single up the middle, 3-1.

The junior (2-12) duplicated her success in the bottom of the sixth with a single that picked up chalk down the left field line. Brea Lawson (King, N.C.) and Sarah Beth Ashley (Walkertown, N.C.) singled to spark the rally.

McRary singled in the bottom of the seventh to bring up the potential game-winning run.

Sophomore Sarah Tucker (Monroe, N.C.) cranked a blast, but it hooked foul. Tucker would eventually single before being stranded to end the contest.

Coach Jaclin Poole's squad concludes its home portion of the season Tuesday, April 19 at 2 & 4 p.m. against CC foe Erskine.

- LMC -