Softball stays unbeaten with sweep of Lees-McRae

Softball stays unbeaten with sweep of Lees-McRae

GREENWOOD – The Lander softball team used a 10-inning walkoff and a six-inning run-rule victory to sweep Lees-McRae in a non-conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Doug Spears Field.

The Bearcats move to 8-0 on the year, while Lees-McRae falls to 1-7 this season. 

"I thought we came out a little flat in the first game," said head coach Glen Crawford, "but we kicked it into gear about midway through and won a really hard-fought game. The second game, we got some timely hitting, so that was good to see."

In the first game, Lander plated two runs with two outs in the bottom of the first inning as Chandler Carey drew a walk and Brianna Surrento reached on an error. Kelli McCormack's grounder to shortstop was misplayed, allowing Carey to score from second and give the Bearcats a 1-0 lead. After Ashley Vinson walked, Jace Bennefield singled home Surrento to extend Lander's lead to 2-0. 

Lees-McRae answered with a run in the top of the second as Chelsea Digregorio singled to lead off the inning and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Noel Cassidy. 

The Bobcats knotted the score in the fourth inning on a Kirstin Doss home run over the centerfield wall, but Lander moved ahead in the bottom of the inning when Bennefield walked and stole second to lead off the frame. After a groundout from Halie Sorrow moved Bennefield to third, an RBI groundout from Kasey Rogers put the Bearcats back on top. 

Lees-McRae scratched across the tying run in the top of the fifth. Cassidy reach on an error and advanced to second on a groundout. A single put Bobcat runners on the corners and a double steal led to a throwing error that tied the game at 3-3. 

The score stayed tied until the bottom of the 10th inning. Carey was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and a throwing error on a McCormack grounder put runners on second and third with one out. Bennefield then hit a ground ball to short, but the throw was low and unable to be scooped at first base, allowing Carey to race home for the winning run. 

McKenzi Ferguson (4-0) earned with a career-high 15 strikeouts in 10.0 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with two walks.

Kara Cunningham took the loss for Lees-McRae, allowing one earned run on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in 9.2 innings.

In game two, the Bearcats took a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Carey singled home Wooten and later came around to score on an error. 

Lander loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Bobcat pitcher Cassidy Largen forced a pair of infield pop-ups. With two outs, Vinson sent a fly ball to left field that was dropped, allowing all three Bearcat runners to score. 

The Bearcats ended the game in the sixth inning when Bennefield scored on an error, Grimes singled home Wooten and McCormack brought home Grimes with a single up the middle. 

Wooten and McCormack both finished 3-for-4 in the game. 

Brianna Surrento (3-0) pitched 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just two hits with three strikeouts and one walk. 

Cassidy Largen (0-3) took the loss after surrendering eight runs, two earned, on 11 hits with two walks and six strikeouts.