WINGATE, N.C. – The Mars Hill softball team earned a split at Wingate on Saturday afternoon at the WU Softball Complex. The Lions (8-20, 1-5 SAC) took game one by the final of 9-0 in five innings, while Wingate (18-14, 5-1 SAC) won the nightcap 11-3.
GAME ONE: MHU 9, WU 0 (5 INNINGS)
Krista Romine had herself a day at the plate in game one, going 2-3 with a homerun and four RBIS. Cassidy Dahle and Casey Stanek produced in game one with two hits each, while Stanek and Emily Crouse contributed two RBIs each. Three different players tallied a hit in the losing effort for the Bulldogs.
Mars Hill struck first in the bottom of the second with a pair of runs off a two-run bomb from Krista Romine. Following a foul out, Taylor Lail reached on an error by the Bulldog defense before Romine launched a 2-2 pitch over the center field wall.
The Lions added to their lead in the top of the third inning. After loading the bases with one out, Emily Crouse drew a walk to plate Ragan Broome. Romine added to her good start as she tallied a two-out two-RBI single to left field to put Mars Hill ahead 5-0.
Wingate threatened in the bottom half of the third, loading the bases with two outs, but starting pitcher Sydney Elkin forced a soft groundout to get out of the jam and preserve the lead for the Blue and Gold.
MHU took advantage of the Bulldog missed opportunity, scoring three more runs in the top of the fourth to push its lead to a commanding 8-0. After the first two runners of the inning, Cassidy Dahle laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position, setting up Casey Stanek with the key at-bat of the frame. Stanek drove the first pitch up against the left center field wall, allowing two runs to touch the plate. Crouse then added a two-out base knock to score Stanek.
Dahle added a bases loaded RBI walk in the top of the fifth and Elkin shut Wingate down in the bottom half of the fifth to lead Mars Hill to the 9-0, short-inning win.
Elkin improved to 4-6 on the season after delivering a masterful performance in the circle, tossing a complete-game shutout while allowing only three hits. Rachel Weidner (8-7) was issued the loss, lasting only 3.0 innings and allowing five runs on five hits.
GAME TWO: MHU 3, WU 11
Kaleigh Jonas connected on her fifth homerun of the season to give the Lions a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. However, Wingate exploded for 10 runs on eight hits and one Lions defensive miscue in the bottom of the third to open up a huge 10-1 advantage.
With their collective backs against the wall and not wanting to be run-ruled, the Lions scratched two runs in the top of the fifth inning to survive another inning. Jonas started the frame with a single up the middle and Hannah Smith drew a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. Ragan Broome advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt before Cassidy Dahle and Casey Stanek added RBIs to trim the Bulldog lead to 10-3.
However, Wingate earned the coveted 8-run lead in the bottom of the sixth after Emma Swenson doubled down the left field line to score Misty Doran and finish the game early.
Brittany Duncan (0-3) was issued the loss after pitching 2.1 innings and giving up six earned runs on five hits. Rachel Weidner (9-7) avenged her first game loss with a win in the second contest, throwing all six innings while allowing three runs on five hits.
The Lions will resume their schedule on Wednesday, March 29 as they travel to Anderson, S.C. to take on the Trojans. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.