CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Mars Hill (12-26, 5-11 SAC) softball team earned a doubleheader split with Queens University (20-24, 6-12 SAC) on Friday afternoon at Park Road Park. The Lions came from behind in game one to win 7-6 before dropping game two, 9-2.
GAME ONE: MHU 7, QU 6
Queens struck for four runs in the bottom of the first inning. After manufacturing the first run without benefit of a hit, the Royals used the long ball to post the comfortable early lead. Ashton Whitaker blasted a solo shot while Elaina Frantellizzi added a two-run homerun in the at-bat.
The Lions threatened in the top of the second after loading the bases, but could not cut into the Royals' lead, leaving the bases juiced. Queens added a single run in the bottom of the second to push its lead out to 5-0.
Mars Hill was finally able to break through in the top of the third after filling the bases for a second consecutive inning. Cassidy Dahle started the frame with her second infield hit of the afternoon before a walk and hit batter put a Lion on each base. Hannah Smith came through with a RBI single while Krista Romine and Emiley Burriss earned bases loaded walks and Emily Crouse added a RBI base hit to right, trimming the deficit to 5-4 after two and half innings of play.
Queens added a one run in the home half of the fifth to push back ahead by two (6-4), but a three-run sixth for Mars Hill gave the Lions their first lead of the contest (7-6). Casey Stanek led the inning off with a double to right field before advancing to third on a single by Hannah Smith. Ragan Broome plated Stanek with a RBI base knock. Following a groundout that put runners on second and third, Kaleigh Jonas laced a single up the middle to score Broome and Smith.
That would be all the runs needed as Sydney Elkin (7-7) finished off what was an impressive relief appearance by retiring the Royals in order over the next two innings to give the Lions the com-from-behind 7-6 game one win. Elkin finished the contest throwing 6.1 innings while allowing two runs on four hits and striking out five batters.
Dahle led the Lions offensively during the opening contest, going 3-of-5 from the dish with a run scored. Jonas added a team-high two RBIs in the victory while Stanek and Smith each collected two hits.
Courtney Pearson (14-15) took the loss for Queens after allowing three runs on nine hits. Frantezzelli went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead Queens.
GAME TWO: MHU 2, QU 9
The Lions struck first in game two, posting singles runs in the second and third innings. Kaleigh Jonas drew a two-out walk in the second before coming around to score on a double down the left field line by Emiley Burriss. Casey Stanek made the lead 2-0 with a solo blast in the top of the third.
However, Queens came right back in the bottom of the third with two runs to even the score. The big blow came off the bat of Abby Lathan who doubled to left field, driving in two runs.
The Royals blew the game open with four runs in the bottom of the fourth as well as one run in the bottom of the fifth and two in the sixth, taking a commanding 9-2 advantage.
The Lions could not get anything going offensively the remainder of the contest, eventually dropping game two by that same final. Stanek and Burriss each collected two hits to lead the Lions in the nightcap, while Ashton Whitaker went 2-for-4 for the Royals.
Stanek (2-9) was tagged with the loss after throwing 3.0 innings and allowing seven runs, three earned. Evie Scott (6-6) earned the win, tossing 5.0 innings and giving up two runs on six hits.
The Lions will return to action on Wednesday, April 19 as they travel to Harrogate, Tenn. to take on the Railsplitters of Lincoln Memorial University in a crucial South Atlantic Conference matchup. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.