White Shuts Down Pioneers in First Career Start, King Splits
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Tusculum College mustered only three in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader with King University. Freshman Morgan White shut down the Pioneer offense in the team's 2-0 win following a 6-4 loss to Tusculum to open the day. With the split, the Lady Tornado are now 2-4 on the season.
GAME 1: Tusculum 6, King 4
Tusculum did all their damage in the top of the third inning, posting six runs to overcome a 2-0 deficit heading into the frame. Samanatha Silver led the inning off with a single to center and put a second runner on when a sacrifice attempt turned into an error when Tori McComas dropped the oncoming throw to first base. One passed ball later, Tusculum placed runners on second and third with no outs. Katie Brennan then brought both runners home with a single to center, tying the game at two.
Lindsay Umberger then found the gap in right center field, giving the Pioneers a 3-2 lead and came home on a sacrifice fly. The inning continued when Natalie Ball was hit by Hannah Light on a 0-2 pitch and later scored on the Pioneer's second triple of the game after Paige Sneed hit a fly ball down the line, past a diving Macy Shupe. After the dust settled, Tusculum exited the inning with a 6-2 lead.
Light (1-2) settled down following the big inning and retired her next seven batters in a row. She did not allow another run the rest of the game only put three runners on base. She began the game striking out five of the first eight batters she faced over two innings. She finished the day with nine total strikeouts, a new season high.
Freshman Octavia Lewis-Rand (Columbus, Ga.) helped trim the lead and keep King within reach of the Pioneers when in the bottom of the fourth she made the most of her first collegiate at bat. Lewis-Rand came off of the bench with runners on second and third and plopped a two-RBI single into right center field to bring the Lady Tornado within two runs, 6-4.
Despite the miniature rally, King failed to put another runner on base the rest of the game. Tusculum's Kelly King (2-1) shut down the Lady Tornado in order in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings and retired her final 10 batters faced.
GAME 2: Tusculum 0, King 2
Morgan White (Suwanee, Ga.) has a career day in her first collegiate start. The freshman went all seven innings and allowed only three base hits and no additional base runners in the Lady Tornado's 2-0 victory. White retired the Pioneers in order four times in seven innings, doing so every other frame.
She was supported by timely hitting and smart base running by her teammates, beginning in the first inning. Junior Stephanie Rodriguez (Lake Mary, Fla.) led the game off with a single to the third-base side and was moved to second via sacrifice. Christina Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) then sent a deep fly ball to left field where Carolyn Williamson drifted underneath and made a clean catch. Rodriguez was tagging on the play but Williamson slipped on the warning track. Rodriguez then turned on the jets and made a hard turn around third base and continued all the way to the plate where she slid in safely, giving King a 1-0 lead.
King added its second run in the bottom of the sixth when third baseman Natalie Ball booted a grounder hit to her by Chrissy Melcher. Hannah Smith singled through the left side to put two runners on before Macy Shupe sacrificed both runners over. Fallon Thomas (Bristol, Va./Virginia H.S.) poked a grounder to the right side, allowing Melcher to score and put King up 2-0 heading into the top half of the seventh.
White closed the door in Tusculum's last chance at the plate with defensive help from the Tornado infield. Cassie Ringstaff (Richlands, Va.) snagged a hot shot hit up the line and retired leadoff hitter Lindsay Umberger. Tori McComas fielded a line shot at second and Melcher finished the game by fielding a grounder hit by Paige Sneed.
The Lady Tornado (2-4) now gear up for four games in two days beginning on Friday, Feb. 15. Lenoir-Rhyne University is scheduled to come to the KU Softball Complex on Friday for two games beginning at 1:30 p.m. King will then host USC-Aiken on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., weather permitting.
Stay tuned on www.KingTornado.com for updates regarding game statuses and results.