NEWBERRY, S.C. – The Mars Hill softball team opened South Atlantic Conference play with a pair of losses to Newberry on Saturday, March 18. The Lions lost the games by the scores of 9-1 and 7-1, dropping their record to 7-17 overall and 0-2 in the SAC, while Newberry improved to 19-8 overall and 2-0 in the league.
GAME ONE: MHU 1, NBY 9 (5 Innings)
Taylor Lail led the Lions at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a homerun and the lone RBI during game one. Addison Harris and Kaleigh Jonas added one hit each in the losing effort. Tori Caldwell collected two RBIs for the Wolves, while Hailey Drawe recorded two hits and scored three runs.
Newberry struck for a run in the bottom of the first after a two-out single to center field by Rachel Marion plated Drawe for the first run of the game. Lail tied the contest at 1-1 as she led the second inning off with a long ball.
However, that would be all the runs the Lions would see and the Wolves added a single run in the third and ended the game early with a 7-run outburst in the bottom of the fourth inning, cashing in on five hits and one error.
Shelby Culler dropped to 2-5 on the season, taking the loss after pitching 3.2 innings and allowing eight runs (four earned) on seven hits. Devon Morrison (11-3) picked up the win, tossing five innings of four hit, one run ball.
GAME TWO: MHU 1, NBY 7
Newberry picked up where it left off in game one, striking for two runs in the bottom of the first on a homerun by Haley Simonds, taking the early advantage. The lead grew to 3-0 in the home half of the third as Hailey Drawe was credited with a sacrifice fly, scoring Allsion Van Atta.
The Lions got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth. Ragan Broome reached base safely on a fielding error by third base and Emiley Burriss was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with one out. Following a double steal, Emily Crouse drove in the lone RBI for the Lions with a fielder's choice.
Two runs in the fifth and sixth innings by the Wolves blew the game open to the tune of 7-1 in favor of the home team. Christina Linton accounted for the runs in the fifth with a two-run shot to right center, while Van Atta came through with a two RBI double in the sixth.
The Lions went quietly in the final innings, falling by the score of 7-1 in game two. Sydney Elkin (3-5) was tagged with the loss after pitching five innings and allowing five runs on nine hits. Emily Marchbanks (7-5) picked up the win, throwing a complete game two-hitter, while allowing only one run and striking out three.
Mars Hill will be back in action on Tuesday, March 21 as it plays host to the Eagles of Carson-Newman University. Game one is set to begin at 2 p.m. at Ponder Field.