CU softball twin-bill sweep ends with wild finish

Staff Reports • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:15 PM

Cumberland’s softball team scored four runs on just a single hit in order to erase a three-run deficit in the final inning en route to a 5-4 victory in game two of a doubleheader sweep of Virginia Intermont on Sunday at the CU softball field.

The Bulldogs (20-9-1) scored five runs in the fifth inning of game one during a 5-2 win, capped by a -un home run from Shawnee Kirk, part of a four-hit, three-RBI day for the senior.

In a wild finish during game two, the Cobras (19-16) took a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, using three unearned runs. The craziness began when an attempted sacrifice bunt from pinch-hitter Amber Palmer was caught by starting pitcher Caroline Curran.

Curran had runner Adrianne Evans hung out on first base for the double play, but sent the throw into right field, allowing Evans to advance to second. Two batters later Katie Smith doubled to left field, breaking a 1-1 tie. Shortstop Michalah Sacre followed with an opposite-field home run to give the Cobras a 4-1 advantage.

In the bottom of the frame junior Katelynn Stoll opened the inning by reaching on an error with one out, but a fly ball to right field spelled the second out of the frame. Megan Kelley kept the inning alive with a walk and redshirt junior Jessica Roper knocked in a run with a single.

The next batter, senior Emily Nicholson loaded the bases after reaching on another error. Senior Sydney Broderick followed with a groundball to second base, and in an attempt to get the force out at second, the throw wound up in left field as two runs scored and tied the game.

The game ended on an even stranger play, as Kirk came up with the game-winning RBI. With runners now on second and third, Kirk hit a ground ball to the shortstop.

Instead of throwing to first, Sacre attempted to tag Broderick at second, who was moving back to the bag. Broderick stepped on the bag just before the tag was made. Meanwhile, Tessa Tomaselli, who was pinch running for Nicholson, scored to end the contest, 5-4.

In game one, senior pitcher Courtney Maynard provided one of her best performances of the year, after allowing a pair of hits which plated a run in the first. After the blemish, the Lancaster native retired the next 12 batters and 19 of the final 22 she faced.

An error led to another Cobra run in the fifth inning, as Cumberland struggled to muster any run support. That changed in the fifth, when the Bulldogs exploded for five runs. Senior Victoria Bennett was hit by a pitch to open the frame, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Kelley followed with a one-out walk and the two again advanced to second and third on a passed ball.

Roper cut the 2-0 deficit in half with an RBI single, but Kelley was thrown out at home from left field, the second out of the inning. Nicholson responded with a game-tying double to center field and Broderick gave CU a lead with a single. Kirk capped the rally with her first home run of the season.

Maynard sat the final six batters down in order to earn her 11th victory of the season. The right-hander finished with seven strikeouts, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and no walks. Curran moved to 2-3 on the season in the game two win.

Nicholson and Roper had multi-hit performances, as Kirk provided a pair in each of the contests.

Cumberland will remain at home for a non-conference matchup with Freed-Hardeman today before taking the road for a Mid-South Conference battle with St. Catharine on Wednesday in a makeup from Friday’s rainout.

First pitch for the doubleheader with Freed-Hardeman is set for 2 p.m. CT.

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