HARROGATE, Tenn. — Sophomore right-hander Samantha Smith tossed her second consecutive shutout while driving in three runs in a 4-0 victory over the Carson-Newman Lady Eagles on Tuesday, leading the Lady Railsplitters to a doubleheader split in South Atlantic Conference softball action at Dorothy Neely Field.
Carson-Newman bounced back for a 9-5 win in game two to salvage the split. Lincoln Memorial University goes to 22-11 overall and 8-4 in the league, while the Lady Eagles move to 27-11 and 6-6 in SAC action.
In the opener Smith held the Lady Eagles to only six hits in a complete-game shutout. She picked up her 13th win of the season, which proved lucky as Smith accounted for three runs in the batter’s box.
That showing at the plate was surprising as Smith went without recording a single at-bat through LMU’s first 31 games, but she was moved into the six hole for Tuesday’s double dip. In her first plate appearance of the season, Smith roped a double down the left-field line to drive in both Brianna Mulkey and Payton Bruce and propel the Lady Railsplitters to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Smith accounted for another run in the bottom of the fifth as she reached on a fielding error by the Carson-Newman shortstop that scored Amanda Snow, who had singled through the left side earlier in the frame. Before Snow scored, the Lady Railsplitters added another in the inning as Kelly Dreier connected on single and Mulkey smartly took the extra base, scoring from second on the relay throw.
Carson-Newman threatened in the top of the seventh as Brittany Bass was hit by a pitch with two outs, while Kelli Hensley and Haley Taylor followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases for slugger Sara Kelley. But Smith dug in and induced a ground out by the Lady Eagles’ third baseman to complete her shutout gem.
Mulkey continued her recent tear by going 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Both Bruce and Moose were 2-for-3, while Smith plated three runs with a 1-for-3 showing.
The back half of the doubleheader nearly proved memorable for the Lady Railsplitters as they rallied back from a 5-2 deficit. Emilee Solomon sparked the rally in the bottom of the fifth as she singled to short, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Kristen McAndrew single to trim the gap to 5-3. The Lady Railsplitters continued the climb back in the sixth as Dreier singled and scored on a base hit by Moose, while Mulkey came through with a two-out RBI single later in the inning to tie the contest at 5-5.
The Lady Railsplitters had an opportunity to plate the winning run in the sixth as McAndrew stepped to the plate with Moose sitting on third base, but she flew out to center.
The Lady Eagles quickly regained the momentum in the top half of the seventh as Sara Kelley drilled a two-run homer to left field and Audrey Woodby matched that swing with a two-run bomb in nearly the same exact location.
Lincoln Memorial was unable to recover from those two big swings, going down in order in the seventh to suffer a 9-5 setback.
Kirstin Toole was on the hook for the loss after relenting five hits and five runs, one earned, in 3.2 innings of relief, falling to 5-5 on the season. Snow was saddled with a no decision with 3.1 innings pitched. She allowed six hits and four runs in the start.
Dreier was the only Lady Railsplitter with more than one hit as she was 2-for-3 with two runs. Lincoln Memorial accumulated nine hits as seven addition players finished with a hit in the nightcap.
The Lady Railsplitters visit Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday.