Photo Courtesy of Jacob Turner
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College softball team closed out its 2018 regular season with a split against rival King University Saturday afternoon in Banner Elk. LMC blanked the Tornado in game one, 4-0, but the latter rebounded to take game two, 6-1. Additionally, with the victory in game one by Kara Cunningham, she is now the program's new record holder for wins by a pitcher in a single season with 16 victories.
Game One Recap – The opening game of Saturday's action was a story of mistakes in the field by the Tornado and stellar pitching by Cunningham. King committed four errors, which sparked each of LMC's four runs in the victory. Cunningham, meanwhile, was able to keep the Tornado offense off the scoreboard for just the sixth time this spring to help the Bobcats to a 4-0 victory.
The duo of Caitlyn Ray and Sarah Beth Thomas both went 2-for-2 in game one with a pair of runs scored. Noel Cassidy, Emily Merriam and Sarah Tucker also logged hits in the first game. Merriam tallied the lone RBI in game one with a single in fifth inning.
As for Cunningham, the junior pitcher logged her fourth shutout of the season. In her 16th win of the season, Cunningham allowed no runs on four hits, walked two and struck out two batters.
Game Two Recap – The story of game two was the awakening of the Tornado offense. Hannah Riddle dealt the bulk of the damage with two home runs and five RBI in game two, and as a team King pounded out 12 hits against the Bobcat pitching staff. With the Tornado offense clicking so well, the Bobcats dropped game two, 6-1.
Karly McRary tallied the lone extra-base hit for the Bobcats in game two with a double in the seventh inning. McRary's two-bagger also pushed across the team's lone run of the game scoring Katie Robinson. Robinson, Cassidy, Cunningham and Tucker also picked up hits in the backend of Saturday's twin bill.
Gabrielle Moyer took the loss in the circle for LMC after allowing a run in the first inning moving her record to 0-2. Cassidy Largen pitched the bulk of the game for the Bobcats tossing five innings allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits.
Next Up – The Bobcats, now 16-24 on the spring, will be back in action next Friday when they travel to Burlington, North Carolina to take part in the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament. With its 11-9 record within the conference, Lees-McRae has drawn the No. 5 seed for the double elimination tournament. LMC's first round opponent will be this same Tornado squad. First pitch for that first round game is set for 11 a.m. Friday morning.