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Lions clutch scoring earns sweep over Converse, seventh straight win

Lions clutch scoring earns sweep over Converse, seventh straight win

DUNCAN, S.C. - The Mars Hill softball team (14-5) earned the sweep over Converse (5-21) on the road in non-conference play Thursday afternoon, taking game one by a score of 1-0 and game two, 5-3, in extra innings.

GAME ONE: MHU 1, CON 0

The Lions took game one by scoring the lone run of the contest in the top of the seventh inning.  With runners on first and third and Hannah Smith at bat, a Valkyrie error allowed each runner to advance.  Krista Romine, who was on third, crossed home for the game-winning run.

Mars Hill threatened to score in the top of the second with a runner on third, but a groundout and subsequent flyout ended the opportunity.  In the top of the third, the Lions had runners on second and third with two outs, but Converse was able to get out of the inning with a lineout to right field.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Valkyries had a runner on second, but Lions' starting pitcher Casey Stanek ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.  

Both Romine and Brooklyn Nanney had a game-high two hits.

Stanek earned her eighth win of the season with a complete game, two-hit shutout while striking out seven in the contest.  Stanek has won her last four starts and has allowed two runs--one earned--and four hits in that span.

Hailey Spitler was credited with the loss, allowing one run on six hits.

GAME TWO: MHU 5, CON 3 

In the top of the ninth inning, Mars Hill scored two runs to complete the sweep of Converse.

Tied at three, Taylor Nilsson scored the game-winning run off of an Ashley Evans bunt.  Beginning the inning on second base, an error on Evans' bunt allowed Nilsson to round third and cross home.

Later in the frame, Cassidy Allen's RBI single through the left side provided the Lions an insurance run to go up 5-3 entering the bottom of the frame.

Casey Stanek, who took the mound in the bottom of the seventh, threw three shutout innings and allowed only one hit to pick up her ninth win of the season by retiring the side in the bottom of the ninth.

Mars Hill scored the opening run of the contest in the top of the third.  Off of a Converse error, Allen scored the first run for the Lions.  The lead was short-lived as in the bottom of the frame, Katelin Bradshaw's single to center field plated Hailey Spitler to knot the game at one.

Allen picked up her first RBI of the game with an infield single in the top of the fourth to plate Jordan Harris.  The Valkyries once again tied the game when Allison Plafcan scored Moriah Gomez off of a sacrifice fly to left field.

The teams traded a run apiece in the sixth with Mars Hill's Ashley Evans blasting a solo home run over the left field wall.  With the bases loaded in the bottom half of the stanza, Marissa Martin was hit by a pitch, allowing Brooklyn McElrath to score.

Five errors plagued the Valkyries in game two, despite outhitting Mars Hill, 6-4.

Allen led all players with two hits and two RBI in the game.  McElrath had one hit in the ballgame and scored a run for Converse.

Martin was credited with the loss, allowing five runs on four hits in nine innings pitched, while striking out five.

Mars Hill opens up South Atlantic Conference play on Saturday, March 16th at Ponder Field when they host Coker.  First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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