DAHLONEGA, Ga. – After a splitting four games earlier in the week, the King University softball opened play at the Captain D's Classic hosted by the University of North Georgia. The Tornado dropped the first game to the 10th-ranked host 5-1 on a walk-off grand slam before bouncing back to take the nightcap with 1-0 win over Kentucky Wesleyan.
North Georgia (15-6) grabbed an early lead on back-to-back hits to start the third inning. Taylor Anne Merritt led off the inning with an infield single and scored on a Kim McMillan drove her in with a double to left center.
The score remained the same until the seventh when Chrissy Melcher started the frame with a walk. After Stephanie Rodriguez reached on a fielder's choice, Fallon Thomas ripped a double to left center that looked to give King the lead. However, Rodriguez was thrown out at home. Nevertheless, Hannah Smith came up with a clutch single to left center to even the score at one-all.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Nighthawks started a one-out rally with a pair of walks, and following an error, McMillan crushed a home run to give North Georgia the 5-1 victory.
Thomas and Smith registered both of King's hits while Hannah Light tossed the complete game. She allowed five runs, four earned on four hits while striking out seven.
The Tornado (11-14) jumped ahead early in game two as Cassie Ringstaff sparked a rally with a double in the bottom of the first inning. After an out, Smith recorded the two-out RBI with a single to left field.
That run was all Light needed as she only allowed three hits in her complete game victory. The senior worked around Panther hits in each the first, fourth and sixth innings to earn the shutout. She struck out eight in the contest.
King threatened to break the game open in the third inning, but Panther pitcher Josalyn Ress stranded the bases loaded. She then stranded a pair of Tornado runners in the fifth inning to keep the score at 1-0, but Light proved to be too much for the Kentucky Wesleyan (4-7) offense.
Ringstaff went 3-for-3 in the game while Smith went 2-for-3 and drove in the winning run.
King will be in action again tomorrow at the Captain D's Classic when they take on Kentucky Wesleyan at 10:00 a.m., and North Georgia at 2:00 p.m.