KNOXVILLE, TENN. – The Lions (12-28, 5-13 SAC) softball team was dealt a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Lincoln Memorial (23-20, 6-12 SAC) on Thursday afternoon at the Christian Academy of Knoxville. The Railsplitters were able to down Mars Hill by 10-4 finals in both games.
GAME ONE: MHU 4, LMU 10
The Lions took advantage of two Railsplitter miscues in the top of the first inning, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Cassidy Dahle started the frame by reaching on an error by the shortstop and came around to score on an Addison Harris double to left center. Casey Stanek moved Harris to third with a beautiful bunt single before stealing second to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Another misplayed ball, this time by the third baseman allowed Harris and Stanek to touch home.
However, after a scoreless first inning for LMU, the Railsplitters came back in the bottom of the second with three runs of their own to knot the game at 3-all. Meredith Johnson connected on a bases-clearing double down the right field line to account for the three runs of the half inning.
Mars Hill once again took the lead in the top of the third, cashing in off a leadoff double by Hannah Smith. A sacrifice bunt from Ragan Broome moved Smith to third and Krista Romine played "sneaky" ball with a bunt single, allowing Smith to cross home plate and give the Lions the lead back at 4-3.
LMU took its first lead of the contest in the bottom of the fourth inning with three runs on four hits and one error from the Lions defense. Dakotah Fraley collected an RBI single while Ty-Kella Goins drove in two runs after a single to center field.
After much success hitting the ball early on, the Lions struggled to find any offense over the last half of game one. The Railsplitters blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth with four runs. A pair of two-run homeruns gave LMU the comfortable 10-4 lead, which would be the final score as Mars Hill went quietly in the top of the seventh.
Stanek provided the offense during game one, going 2-for-3 from the dish with a run scored, while Smith's two RBIs were a team-high. Five different players recorded two hits each for Lincoln Memorial and Goins' four RBIs were a game-high.
Sydney Elkin (7-8) was tagged with the loss after pitching 5.2 innings and allowing eight earned runs on 12 hits. Brianna Taylor (14-10) threw a complete game for the Railsplitters to earn the win, allowing three earned runs on seven hits.
GAME TWO: MHU 4, LMU 10
Mars Hill was the aggressor early in game two as well. After an uneventful first for both teams the Lions took a 2-0 lead off of a towering two-run homerun from Taylor Lail in the top of the second. Prior to the long ball Romine drew a one-out walk to set Lail up for her sixth homer of the season.
Lincoln Memorial came back in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 2-2. Meredith Johnson knocked in the first run of the frame with a double to left center before Teddi Collins singled through the right side to score Allie Jones from second.
The ball continued to fly in the third inning. With one out, Broome belted a solo homerun to right center to give the Lions a 3-2 lead, but Jennifer Moose tallied a solo shot of her own in the bottom of the third, knotting the contest at 3-all.
Johnson picked up her second RBI of game two in the bottom of the fourth as she led off with a homerun to center. An RBI single by Ty-Kella Goins set up BriAnna Schrimpf, who connected on a 2-0 pitch and sent it over the left centerfield wall, giving the home team a 7-4 lead after four innings of play.
LMU extended its lead by adding three more runs in the bottom of the fifth as three separate players recorded RBIs in the at-bat. The Lions scratched across a single run in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Smith following a leadoff double by Stanek to cut the deficit to 10-4.
However, that would be as close as the contest would get as LMU finished off the doubleheader sweep with a second game score of 10-4.
Dahle and Smith led the Lions in game two with two hits each, while Lail added two RBIs. Meredith Johnson went 3-for-3 for LMU with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Shelby Culler (3-8) took the loss after tossing 4.2 innings and allowing 10 runs on 13 hits. Brianna Taylor (15-10) took the win in game two as well after pitching 4.2 innings and allowing a single run on four hits.
The Lions will finish the regular season on Saturday, April 22 as they play host to conference rival Coker at Ponder Field. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. Prior to the contest the team will honor its three seniors for their dedication and contributions to the MHU softball program.