Softball Swept By King, 3-1 & 3-0 In Home Conference Finale

Softball Swept By King, 3-1 & 3-0 In Home Conference Finale

King took advantage of seven Belmont Abbey errors to score six runs-only two of which were earned-as the Tornado swept the Crusaders 3-1 and 3-0 this afternoon in a Conference Carolinas softball doubleheader. King improves to 18-19 overall and 3-3 in league play, while the Crusaders fall to 7-23 overall and 3-5 in Conference Carolinas.

Today's doubleheader was the final home conference doubleheader of the year for the Crusaders.

In the opener, the Abbey jumped ahead 1-0 in its first at bat, as Mackenzie Dziendziel led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second by Katherine Starnes and raced to third on a groundout by Kaitlyn Jones. She scored on Kinsey McClure's opposite field single to left center to move the Crusaders ahead 1-0.

King wasted no time tying the score as Allie Spell blasted a solo homer with one out in the second to knot the contest at one.

Four batters later, after a walk and two infield singles, Hannah Smith doubled the lead to 2-0 when she singled home Moragn Lowe, who had walked earlier in the inning.

The game stayed tied at 2-1 until the seventh, as the two pitchers settled in and held the offenses off the board. King pitcher Hannah Light retired 14 consecutive batters, as she did not allow a Crusader base runner until the sixth on a Starnes walk after Dani Marietta's single in the first. 

King added an insurance run in the seventh on a Crusader error to score the winning run. Cassie Ringstaff reached second when her ground ball was bobbled. She scored on Smith's single down the leftfield line to give King a 2-1 lead.

Down to its final three outs, the Abbey brought the tying run to the plate twice as Marietta reached on a one out bloop single down the rightfield line, but a strikeout and fly out to center ended the game.

Light went the distance as she struck out nine, allowing just one run on three hits. Samantha Jacobs was just as dominant, fanning 11 as she gave up three runs, two earned, on seven hits.

Marietta had two of the Abbey's three hits with McClure adding the other.

In game two, the Tornado scored three unanswered runs and ended the game on a double play after the Crusaders brought the winning run to the plate with one out in the bottom of the seventh.

King scored its first run in the third inning as it took advantage of the first Abbey error of the game. Tori McComas reached on an error, moved to second on a bunt single and scored on Ringstaff's fielder's choice, as she lined a soft fly ball down the rightfield line that Dziendziel nearly caught, but she was able to recover and force Octavia Lewis-Rand at second, but McComas scored easily for the game's first run.

The Tornado closed the scoring in the seventh as they plated both runs with two outs. The first two batters were retired on a groundout and a strikeout, but Sam Cole kept the inning alive with a single. Amber Walker moved her to third on a ground ball error and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch.

The inning appeared to end on the net at bat, as McComas rolled a soft ground ball to Nikki Faust, but McClure dropped the throw, allowing both runners to score and increase the lead to 3-1.

Belmont Abbey saved its biggest threat for the bottom of the seventh, as it loaded the bases with one out.

McClure was retired on the first pitch, but Marietta and Faust stroked back-to-back singles, followed by Jena Reisanauer getting aboard on an error to load the bases. Reisanauer was replaced by Lexi Poston. Shanie McConnell came up representing the winning run, and she flew out to center on the first pitch, but Poston was caught off the bag and was tagged out at first to end the game.

Light earned the win once again as she fanned three and walked one in a complete game four hit shutout. Faust took the loss after allowing three unearned runs on six hits, fanning five. She did not walk a batter.