BREVARD, N.C. — A pair of late blunders proved costly for the Lady Railsplitters on Thursday as the Brevard Tornados took advantage of Lincoln Memorial’s miscues in a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader sweep. The Lady Railsplitters suffered a 3-2 eight-inning loss in game one before Brevard rallied in the sixth inning in game two to take a 5-4 edge. Lincoln Memorial falls to 23-14 overall and 9-7 in SAC play after enduring its first league sweep this season.
Lincoln Memorial struck first in game one as Jaclyn Cokeroft drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third, advanced to second on a passed ball, moved to third on Samantha Smith’s single and scored on a two-out hit by Payton Bruce. But Brevard responded in the home half of the third as Brittany Fowler singled and scored on a Kinsey Parrish base knock. The Tornados threatened to do further damage in the frame with runners on first and second and one out, but Smith induced a ground out and a strikeout to end the inning.
The Lady Railsplitters regained the lead in the top of the fourth, which was led off by a Kelly Dreier triple into right-center. Dreier scored two batters later on a two-out, two-bagger by Smith. Like the Tornados before, the Lady Railsplitters had an opportunity to bust the game wide open after Smith’s double as Jennifer Moose singled and Emilee Solomon walked to load the bases, but pinch hitter Danae Reed bounced out to third base to hold LMU’s lead at 2-1.
The Tornados put a runner on base in the fourth, fifth and sixth frame, but Smith weathered the storm until the pressure finally broke a seam in the seventh. With the Lady Railsplitters looking to close out with a 2-1 lead, Alyssa Miller sparked a rally for the Tornados with a leadoff single. Miller advanced all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out before scoring to knot the game on a two-out single from Parrish.
With the international tie breaker rule in effect in the eighth, the Lady Railsplitters bunted Drier over to third base, but Cokeroft struck out and Dreier stepped off of the bag early, effectively ending the inning. The Tornados took advantage of that blown opportunity and used another LMU miscue to walk off with the victory. With two outs on the board and Parrish at third base, Emily Boykin was walked to put runners on the corners. Michelle Ray was intentionally walked to bring the force out into effect at every base, but Ally Davenport drew another walk to send the winning run across the dish.
Smith was on the hook for the loss after allowing 11 hits and two earned runs with five K’s in 7-2/3 innings pitched. Smith also led the Lady Railsplitters offensively, logging a 3-for-3 showing with an RBI and a walk.
In game two, the Tornados needed only one hit to pulse out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first frame as Miller singled, Casey Whitaker reached on a fielding error and Parrish walked to load the bases with one out. Lauren Parker ground into a 5-2 putout for the second out of the inning, but Emily Boykin, Kinny Davis and Michelle Ray drew back-to-back-to-back walks to compile three runs, while Boykin scored on an illegal pitch.
The Lady Railsplitters calmly rebutted in the top of the second as Cokeroft walked and scored on a Solomon triple, and Brianna Mulkey followed that up with another three-bagger. Mulkey scored in the next at-bat as the Brevard right-fielder misplayed a ball put in play by Moose, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
The Lady Railsplitters knotted the game in the top of the fourth. Laura Taricano drew a one-out walk, stole second, advanced to third on Mulkey’s single and scored on a wild pitch.
But it would be the Tornados that would have the last say offensively. Once again, Miller sparked the rally, this time with a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth. Miller scored the eventual game-winning run on an LMU throwing error.
Lincoln Memorial looks to bounce back on Saturday in the final regular-season series at Dorothy Neely Field. The Lady Railsplitters host Catawba for a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader set for a 2 p.m. start. Prior to Saturday’s contest, the Lady Railsplitters will celebrate Senior Day with a ceremony honoring the careers of Brianna Mulkey, Danae Reed, Laura Taricano and Kirstin Toole.