Thomas Goes Yard in Tight-Knit Split with Eagles
BRISTOL, Tenn. – It took nine innings to determine a winner in game one of the Lady Tornado/Eagles doubleheader held at the King College Softball Complex on Thursday afternoon. The Eagles outlasted King, 7-5, before the Lady Tornado jumped all over Carson-Newman early in the second game, 8-3.
GAME ONE: CARSON-NEWMAN 7, KING 5 (F/9)
Both teams took a 1-1 tie into extra innings with the Lady Tornado riding on the arm of senior Kendall Brabson (Bean Station, Tenn.). Brabson held the Eagles to just one unearned run through seven innings with a pair of strikeouts.
The Eagles and Lady Tornado swapped runs in the eighth inning to make the score 2-2. Carson-Newman took a short-lived edge on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Caitlyn Lance, but King responded with the game-tying run when Cassie Ringstaff (Richlands, Va.) perfectly placed a bunt between the pitcher and first base to score the speedy Stephanie Rodriguez (Lake Mary, Fla.) from second base.
Brabson struggled in the extra frames in what turned out to be her longest outing of the year, allowing five runs in the top of the ninth. Jessica Morgan notched a RBI single before the middle of the C-N lineup hit three consecutive doubles, scoring the next four runs and putting the Eagles up, 7-2, with King down to their last at bat.
Within runners at first and third and no outs, the Eagles pegged Cora Milliken at the plate on a fielder's choice. Aubrey Hutt (Bristol, Va.) singles to load the bases before C-N pitcher Mary Shealy walked in a run to make the score 7-3. Casey Ringstaff jumped started the base runners, grounding out to second but the base paths were burning after two runs scored while the Eagles attempted to throw out King's aggressive runners. Down two runs, Shealy ended the game with a strikeout to survive the late scare.
GAME TWO: CARSON-NEWMAN 3, KING 8
King wasted no time jumping on Shealy, who also started game two after tossing all nine in the first game. After being retired in order in the first, the Lady Tornado scored seven runs in the second inning.
Fallon Thomas (Bristol, Va.) continued her hot hitting by highlighting the second with her first home run of the year, a three-run shot over the centerfield fence to give the Lady Tornado a 4-1 lead. Stephanie Rodriguez followed with a run-scoring single down the left field line, scoring Chrissy Melcher from second. Ringstaff ripped a triple into right field, scoring one, before completing her trip around the bags on a wild pitch from Shealy.
King added to their 7-2 lead in the fourth when Melcher beat out a throw to the plate on a fielder's choice off the bat of Rodriguez. Sophomore pitcher Rachel Wilmoth took care of the rest, going seven complete in her second win of the season. The Morristown, Tenn., native struck out two and allowed three runs over her seven innings of work.
Fallon Thomas went a combined 3-for-6 on the day with a home run and three RBI, also drawing a walk. Kendall Brabson went 3-for-7 with two doubles, a walk, and a run batted in. Five different Lady Tornado hitters recorded multiple-hit days while three had a trio of RBI.
With the split, King is now 5-3 overall as they head into their first Conference Carolinas games in program history. The Lady Tornado will begin their league slate at Erskine College on Saturday, Feb. 25, with a doubleheader against the Flying Fleet beginning at 1:00 p.m.