Playing for the first time in ten days, the Belmont Abbey softball team dropped both games of a doubleheader to the visiting Lenoir-Rhyne Bears this afternoon at Crusader Field. Lenoir-Rhyne, which is receiving votes in the latest national rankings, improves to 14-0 on the year as it won by scores of 3-2 an 8-0. The Crusaders fall to 3-10 on the year.
In game one, Lenoir-Rhyne held off a seventh inning rally by the Abbey to hold on for a 3-2 victory.
The Bears opened the scoring in the first as Averi Miller raced home on a wild pitch to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, the lead grew to 3-0 on catcher Sarah Kenley's two RBI double to the gap in left center.
Belmont Abbey scored both of its runs in the bottom of the fourth, with two outs, to trim the deficit to one. Senior catcher Amber Faust laced a single to right field, scoring Samantha Jacobs from third. Dani Marietta, who singled earlier, raced to third and Faust moved to second on a throwing error as the Bears tried to nab Faust at first.
Katherine Starnes, who totaled three hits, bounced a grounder off the third base bag for her second hit of the game, scoring Marietta easily, but Faust was caught at second for the final out of the inning.
Down to its final three outs, the Crusaders placed the tying run 60 feet away with one out. Starnes reached on a leadoff double down the leftfield line, then was sacrificed to third by Anna Mixa.
After a pitching change, Mackenzie Dziendziel worked a walk to put runners on first and third, but Maryann Hoskins struck out the next two batters to stall the rally and earn the save.
Bears starter Brandi Hole worked the first six and one-thirds innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on eight hits. She fanned four and walked one. Jacobs took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits, striking out five. She walked six.
Starnes totaled three of the Abbey's eight hits. Jena Reisanauer added two. Starnes and Faust each drove in a run.
The nightcap was all Lenoir-Rhyne from the start, as the Bears plated one in the second, two in the third and four more in the fourth as five of their hits went for extra bases, including two home runs by Ashley Oliver.
Belmont Abbey finished with just one hit as Faust recorded an infield single. Hoskins went the distance in the circle for the Bears as she held the Crusaders to one hit, striking out eight and walking one.
Nikki Faust took the loss after yielding seven runs on ten hits in three and two-thirds innings, striking out one.