Photo Courtesy of Jacob Turner
BURLINGTON, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College softball team was involved in a pair of tightly contested contests Friday on the first day of the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament at Burlington's Springwood Park. LMC dropped its first game of the day to fourth-seeded King by a score of 4-3 before mounting a late rally to knock off second-seeded Erskine in an elimination game, 4-2. The results Friday push LMC's record to 17-25 on the season.
Game One Recap – Junior Kara Cunningham kept the Tornado offense in check through most of the day's first contest. In fact, King did not tally a hit until the sixth inning. However, that's when it erased a 3-0 Bobcat lead to tie the game at 3-3 heading to the seventh inning. After a scoreless top of the seventh, the Tornado picked up a pair of hits to walk-off the Bobcats, 4-3.
Lees-McRae tallied just three hits against the Tornado pitching staff. Sarah Tucker and Cunningham accounted for two of the three Bobcat hits and tallied one RBI each. Noel Cassidy also picked up a single against King.
Cunningham took the loss in the circle for LMC moving her record to 16-12. Cunningham allowed four runs on six hits in six-and-two-thirds innings in the contest.
Game Two Recap – Facing elimination in its second game of the day, the Bobcats again turned to Cunningham in the circle. The Indian Trail, North Carolina native came through surrendering just one Erskine hit in the game. Even with that effort from Cunningham, the Bobcats found itself trailing 2-0 heading to the seventh inning. Fortunately for the Bobcat fans in attendance, Lees-McRae scored four times in the top of the seventh to vault ahead of the Flying Fleet to remain in the tournament with a 4-2 victory.
LMC's five hits against Erskine all came from the top four hitters in its batting order. Cunningham went 2-for-4 with a RBI. Caitlyn Ray, Emily Merriam and Cassidy all notched base hits as well. Cassidy drove in the first run of the game for the Bobcats. Cunningham plated another with a single of her own before Merriam drove in two with a line drive single to right field to complete the scoring for the team.
Cunningham picked up her 17th win of the 2018 campaign furthering her own single-season record. The junior pitcher did walk five hitters in seven innings but she also struck out five.
Next Up – The Bobcats will try to keep their season alive Saturday on day two of the tournament. LMC's next opponent will be the No. 7 seed Mount Olive. UMO, which also split on day one with a win over Erskine and loss against NGU, lost both games to LMC when the two teams matched up in Banner Elk on a pair of walk-off wins. First pitch for that contest is set for noon.