COLUMBUS, Ga. – The King University softball team continued play at the Cougar Classic on Saturday and split a pair of games. The Tornado fell to Lincoln Memorial University 9-1, but bounced back to defeat Tusculum College 4-0 behind Hannah Light's second shutout in as many starts this season.
After Light sat the Pioneers (0-4) down in order in the top of the first, Fallon Thomas got the Tornado (2-1) on the board with a two-out home run to right center. Light worked around a pair of base runners in the second inning to keep the Tornado in the lead before King struck again in the third inning.
Chrissy Melcher led off the third with a single up the middle before Cassie Ringstaff lifted a long fly ball to center field. The ball went off the outfielder's glove before going over the right center field fence to extend King's lead to 3-0 after three innings.
Light stranded two more runners in each the four and fifth innings before the Tornado tacked on an insurance run in the sixth inning. With runners on the corners, Octavia Lewis-Rand ripped a sacrifice fly to center field to stretch the Tornado lead to 4-0. Light sat the Pioneers down in order in the seventh for her second win, and shutout in as many days.
Light struck out 12 hitters against just two walks in the victory while Melcher posted a team-high two hits and scored one run. Ringstaff drove in a pair to lead King.
Earlier in the day, the Tornado tried to use the momentum they gained from their opening day win on Friday early against Lincoln Memorial (3-0) as they tallied the game's first run in the top of the first inning. Melcher led off the game with a walk before she was retired on a fielder's choice on a Thomas groundball. Thomas advanced to second in a passed ball, and to third in a Hannah Smith single. Amber Walker drove her in to give King the 1-0 lead with an infield single.
After Morgan Lowe allowed a leadoff single followed by a walk in the first inning, she seemed to settle in. She stuck out back-to-back batters looking before getting the third out on a swinging strikeout to end the threat.
However, the Railsplitters broke through in the second inning after Lowe struck out the leadoff hitter. Payton Bruce registered a single before Lowe got another out, and looked to get out of the inning unscathed. Nevertheless, Jennifer Moose singled and Emilee Solomon followed with an RBI double to right center to even the score. Lincoln Memorial registered three more runs before Lowe got a line out to end the threat and leave the bases loaded.
Trailing 4-1, King tried to get back on the board in the third inning as a Thomas walk started a two-out rally. Smith followed with a single and Walker walked to load the bases. However, Lincoln Memorial pitcher Samantha Smith ended the threat with a strikeout.
The Railsplitters extended their lead to 6-1 with a pair of runs in the fourth before King placed runners on first and second in the fifth inning. However, the runners were stranded there, and Lincoln Memorial added two more runs in the bottom of the inning to stretch their lead to 8-1. The Railsplitters capped the 9-1 win with a single tally in the sixth inning, handing the Tornado their first loss of the year.
Smith led King at the plate, going 2-for-2 while Thomas and Walker registered the other two Tornado hits in the game.
King closes play at the Cougar Classic on Sunday when they face Wingate University at 10:30 a.m. and Pfeiffer University at 12:30 p.m.