04/06/07 — Mount Olive College softball splits CVAC doubleheader

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Mount Olive College softball splits CVAC doubleheader

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on April 6, 2007 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive softball team discovered that the best way to overcome its worst loss of the season is to respond with one of its best wins of the season.

Erin Wilson went 3-for-3 with three runs batted, including a game-ending RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to give conference leader Mount Olive an 8-0 run-rule victory over Limestone in game two of a Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference softball doubleheader Thursday at Nancy Chapman Cassell Field. The Trojans salvaged a split after suffering an 8-0 run-rule loss in the opener.

Mount Olive (31-14 overall, 11-3 CVAC) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap as the Trojans took advantage of two Limestone errors to put runners on first and second with one out. CVAC RBI leader Jenny Jackson drove in the first two runs with a double down the left field line. Bailey Harrell followed with an infield single and after she and Jackson advanced to second and third, both runners scored on Wilson's double to the gap in right-center.

On the mound, Jackson (12-4) posted her fourth shutout in her last five starts, overcoming a pair of singles in the first and retiring the side in order in the second before having to escape trouble in the third. Courtney Guerrieri lofted an opposite field triple to left over a drawn-in outfield to lead off the inning. Jackson retired the next two batters on infield pop-ups, but Limestone (19-22, 8-6) loaded the bases on a walk and a hit by pitch. Jackson got out of the inning on a strikeout and retired the side in order in the final two innings.

Limestone starter Candice Evans (4-8) retired eight straight batters before Wilson singled with two outs in the fourth and began a string of four consecutive Trojan base hits. Karen Thornton followed with an infield single and Wilson scored on a single by Colleen Thomas. Tiffanie Pittman followed with a single up the middle to bring home Thornton and extend the Trojans' lead to 6-0.

Morgan Whaley led off the bottom of the fifth with her seventh home run of the season, a 240-foot shot over the left-center field fence. Jackson followed with her second double of the game and one out later, pinch-runner Kat Cahoon advanced to third on a ground out. Wilson laid down a bunt and Cahoon scored on the squeeze play to invoke the eight-run rule.

Jackson finished with a three-hitter and struck out three to bring her season strikeout total to 102.

The Trojans reached the 30-win mark for the first time since 2000 earlier this week, but were 3-5 in their previous eight games before the decisive win the nightcap. Wilson, one of seven seniors on the team, says the team talked about regrouping in between games Thursday.

"We started the season well and told ourselves that we needed to spark like we have been," said Wilson, one of five players who are part of head coach Jaime Kylis-Higginbotham's first recruiting class. "We just needed to find that win again."

In the opener, Evans' two-run double highlighted a three-run third inning as Limestone broke a scoreless tie. The Saints capitalized on four Trojan errors to score five unearned runs in the top of the fourth. Jessica Brown capped the scoring with a two-run homer, her seventh of the season.

Jennifer Casement (10-9) limited the Trojans to one hit through four innings and got out of a jam in the bottom of the first after Mount Olive loaded the bases with two outs.

Trojan starter Shauna Cowdrey (9-6) went 2 2/3 innings and took the loss. Ashley Raynor pitched into the fourth inning and Krystal Bourne held Limestone scoreless over the final 1 2/3 innings, striking out two.

Mount Olive is off until Tuesday when the Trojans travel to Misenheimer to take on Pfeiffer in a CVAC doubleheader. The games were originally scheduled for late February, but had to be rescheduled due to rain. Game time is 2 p.m. Limestone heads up to Wilson, N.C. Friday at 2 p.m. to face Barton in a CVAC doubleheader.

Despite the split, Mount Olive remains percentage points ahead of second-place Coker in the CVAC standings and is still one game ahead in the loss column. Wilson hopes the game two victory will be the jump start the Trojans need to finish out the regular season and head into the CVAC Tournament.

"It's been a couple weeks since we've won the second game of a doubleheader, so getting the win today was big, especially an 8-0 win against a very good team," said Wilson. The Trojans had lost the nightcap in three of their last four doubleheaders. "We decided that what happened in game one won't happen again. We just need to play like we're capable of playing the rest of the season."