MOC earns split with Coker
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 30, 2009 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Robbin Kennedy picked the perfect time to join Mount Olive's home run club this season.
The freshman catcher swatted a fifth-inning, three-run blast as the Trojans upended Coker (S.C.) College 7-4 in game two of their Conference Carolinas softball doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.
The Cobras claimed the opener 5-3 in eight innings.
"It was nice to see Robbin come out of her shell," said MOC head coach Jaime Kylis-Higginbotham. "We've been waiting for her to join the bomb club."
Tied at 4-4, senior Jenny Jackson started the Trojans' fifth-inning rally with a lead-off walk and moved into scoring position on Morgan Whaley's sacrifice bunt. Kristen Ware singled and after a groundout, Kennedy stepped into the box.
Kennedy fell behind 1-0 in the count.
Coker reliever Becky Dillon rocked back in the pitcher's circle and fired an outside fastball toward the plate. Kennedy swung and the ball drifted toward left field.
"I anticipated something outside, but didn't know what to expect because she has a pretty good change-up, too," said Kennedy. "I just saw the pitch and swung for it."
Kennedy's blast bounced off the fence and rolled into the parking lot behind left field. It was Kennedy's first homer of the season and the Trojans' second of the afternoon.
Down 7-4, the Cobras never recovered.
Jackson took over for Ware in the circle and provided two innings of one-hit, two-strikeout relief for her second save of the season. A native of Fremont, Jackson retired six of seven batters she faced and allowed just one ball to leave the infield.
Mount Olive (17-16-1) grabbed its third Conference Carolinas split of the season. The Trojans captured just their fifth victory against the Cobras in 17 meetings since 2002.
"It was pretty important for us to at least get a split and get as many (conference) wins as we can," said Kennedy, who finished the second game 2-for-3 with four RBI.
The teams needed the speed-up rule to decide the opener.
Jackson cranked her third homer of the season, a seventh-inning solo shot, to force the extra inning.
Coker's Whitney Wallett, who made the final out in the seventh inning, started the eighth at second base and moved into scoring position on back-to-back infield hits. The Trojans conceded one run on a Miranda Klees' groundout and Julia Nelson-Abbott followed with a two-RBI single to make it 5-1.
Nalley began MOC's eighth at second base and advanced to third on Allison Czerski's sacrifice bunt. Whaley, in a pinch-hit role, knocked in Nalley with a single to left field.
One out later, the Trojans loaded the bases on consecutive hits from Kat Cahoon (2-for-4) and Kelly Minshew, who batted 2-for-4. Jackson drew an RBI walk, but Coker reliever Sydney Greenwalt preserved the road win with a game-ending groundout.
"The first game we were a little flat and decided to show up in the eighth," said Higginbotham. "There were good spurts of us and not-so-good spurts of us. It's hard to take a loss like that because you know that's not your team out there that's playing one hundred percent to its ability."
Mount Olive entertains in-state conference foe St. Andrews on Wednesday. First pitch is 2 p.m. on the Nancy Chapman Cassell Field diamond.
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