MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill (9-23, 2-8 SAC) softball team was swept by visiting Lenoir-Rhyne (33-8, 7-3 SAC) on Saturday afternoon at Ponder Field. L-R was able to earn the victories by scores of 3-1 and 9-6.
GAME ONE: MHU 1, L-R 3
L-R struck first with a leadoff homerun in the top of the first. Erin Boone took a 2-2 pitch and deposited it into the creek over the centerfield wall for the 1-0 lead. Mars Hill looked primed to tie the contest in the bottom of the first when Cassidy Dahle and Ragan Broome led off with back-to-back singles, but three straight groundouts to the pitcher ended the threat.
The Bears added single runs in the second and fifth innings to push the lead out to 3-0. Boone was at it again in the second as she added a RBI single up the middle while Sydney Landreth contributed a double to left center in the fifth to plate Sarah Kenley.
After six innings of scoreless softball, Mars Hill was granted a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh inning, bringing the tying run to the plate. Hannah Smith led the frame off with a single to right field before Kaleigh Jonas smoked a base hit through the legs of the third baseman. A deep fly out to center advanced both runners and Ragan Broome brought in the first Lion run with a shallow single. However, that would be as close as the MHU got, dropping the first game by the final of 3-1.
Broome and Stanek led the Lions offensively with two hits each, while Broome also provided the lone RBI for the Blue and Gold. Sarah Kenley went 3-for-3 from the dish for the Bears and Boone tallied two RBIs.
Sydney Elkin (5-7) took the loss after throwing a complete game while allowing three runs on eight hits. Sydney Miller (6-4) picked up the win for the Bears, tossing all 7.0 innings and allowing one run on eight hits.
GAME TWO: MHU 6, L-R 9
Lenoir-Rhyne plated two runs in the top of the first when Sydney Landreth and Madison Carter notched RBI singles up the middle.
Hannah Smith cut the Bears' lead in half in the bottom of the second with her first career homerun. Following a groundout, Smith took a 1-1 pitch and blasted a no-doubter to left center to get the Lions on the board. Madison Carter got that run back for L-R in the top of the third with a two-out double to left center. Madison Poe added a shallow single to center to extend the lead to 4-1.
Mars Hill was able to scratch a single run in the bottom of the third after a defensive miscue from the Bears. Casey Stanek laced a single to left field with two outs and advanced to second on a bobble by the fielder. Taylor Lail then collected her own hit to left to score Stanek and trim the deficit to 4-2.
However, L-R came back in the top of the fourth with four run s to balloon the lead to 8-2. Landreth and Christina Walker tallied RBI doubles while Erin Boone and Sarah Kenley posted RBI singles during the at-bat.
The Lions were able to cut the lead in half once again in the bottom half of the fourth with a pair of runs on four hits, the big blow coming off the bat of Ragan Broome, who singled down the right field line with the bases loaded, allowing Emily Crouse and Hollie Norris to score.
Mars Hill made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs and bringing the winning run to the plate, but was unable to pull off the dramatic comeback, dropping game two of the day by the final of 9-6.
Stanek (2-7) was tagged with the loss after pitching 3.1 innings and allowing eight runs on 11 hits. Sydney Miller (7-4) picked up her second win of the day, tossing another complete game, giving up six runs on 12 hits.
Crouse led the way in game two after finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored, while four different players tallied a RBI for the Lions. Madison Carter went a perfect 4-of-4 from the plate with four RBIs and one run scored.
The Lions will be back in action on Tuesday, April 4 as they play host to the Pioneers of Tusculum College. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Ponder Field.