MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill (11-23, 4-8 SAC) softball team used a barrage of long balls to earn a sweep of visiting Catawba (10-33, 3-11) on Saturday afternoon at Ponder Field. In total the Lions launched four homeruns to take the series by scores of 8-0 (5 innings) and 8-2.
GAME ONE: MHU 8, CAT 0 (5 innings)
The Lions struck first in the bottom of the second inning with three runs. Following a leadoff single through the right side, Krista Romine blasted a two-run shot to right center to start the scoring. Emily Crouse reached on a two-out error by the Indians defense and Cassidy Dahle made it hurt with a double down the left field line, plating Crouse and staking the home team to a 3-0 lead.
Mars Hill added to that lead in the bottom of the fourth. Romine was at it again, leading off the inning with a double off the left field wall. Following an out, Emiley Burriss was hit by a pitch and both runners were moved up 60 feet with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt laid down by Crouse. That's when the hitting began.
The Lions strung together five consecutive hits to blow the game wide open. Casey Stanek and Hannah Smith tallied RBI doubles during the at-bat, while Dahle and Addison Harris contributed RBI singles, pushing the lead to 8-0 in favor of the home team.
Catawba threatened in the top of the fifth, putting runners on second and third with two outs, but failed to push across a run which led the Lions collecting the 8-run rule victory.
Dahle led the Lions offensively going 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and a run scored, while Romine collected two hits in three at-bats, providing two RBIs and two runs scored. Smith also added two RBIs during the first game.
Sydney Elkin (6-7) breezed to the victory after firing a three-hit shutout, while Brooke Walser (7-13) was tagged with the loss after allowing six earned runs on seven hits.
GAME TWO: MHU 8, CAT 2
Catawba was the aggressor early in game two, scratching two runs in the top of the first after a two-run homerun by Katherine Shumaker that just cleared the left field fence.
That lead did not last long as Mars Hill struck for three runs of its own in the bottom of the first. Cassidy Dahle led the frame off reaching on an error by second base and Hannah Smith drew a walk. That set up Casey Stanek, who blasted a 2-2 pitch to left center for her third homerun of the season, giving the Lions a 3-2 lead.
Mars Hill ballooned the lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the second with three more runs. This time it was Taylor Lail's turn to go deep, turning on an inside pitch and blasting out to left field, scoring Dahle and Smith who each collected hits in the inning.
After being held scoreless in the third inning the Lions came back in the home half of the fourth with two more runs to extend their lead to 8-2. Smith earned a free base after the shortstop was unable to get the ball out of her glove and Ragan Broome capitalized on the mistake, punching her second ticket of the season to dinger town with a blast to left field.
That was all the runs needed as the Lions completed the two game sweep with a final game score of 8-2. Shelby Culler (3-6) picked up the win, tossing a complete game while allowing just two runs on seven hits and striking out five. Kaylee Cook (2-15) took the loss for Catawba, allowing six runs on six hits in just 1.1 innings pitched.
Lail and Broome led the way in game two with two hits and two RBIs each, while Stanek produced three RBIs on her only hit of the game. Caroline Turner and Leah Huggins had two hits each for the Indians while Shumaker provided the offense with two RBIs.
The Lions will make the quick turnaround as they play host to Tusculum tomorrow afternoon in a series that was rained out from last week. The two teams will start where they left off in game one with the Pioneers leading 3-1 in the top of the third inning. Game one is set to get underway at 1 p.m.