No. 24 Carson-Newman Sweeps Home Softball Opener 8-0 And 9-0 Over Lees-McRae

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The No. 24 Lady Eagles softball team grabbed two wins in their snowy season opener Sunday at the Lady Eagle Softball Complex over visiting Lees-McRae (2-2). C-N won by scores of 8-0 and 9-0.

“We’re just eager to start playing,” said Carson-Newman head coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield. “After having a couple of cancellations, you’re always glad to get out on the field. We had snowy conditions, but we were pleased to get two victories.”

“We played hard and pitched pretty well the first game,” continued Hollifield. “Our defense was solid all afternoon. Our pitch selection needs to improve, but it was our first time seeing live pitching this year.”

Game One – Carson-Newman 8, Lees-McRae 0 (six innings) - Box Score

Carson-Newman broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning with a run by senior shortstop Jessie Howard (Knoxville, Tenn.). After reaching base on a single to the pitcher and stealing second, Howard was moved to third by a sacrifice bunt by junior outfielder Leah Price (Spring City, Tenn.). A fly ball to right field by sophomore designated player Mary Shealy (Clinton, S.C.) proved to be a sacrifice, scoring Howard.

The Lady Eagles broke the game wide open in their half of the fifth frame with five runs, all coming with two outs. After Howard walked and Price reached on a single, senior first baseman Sara Little (Calhoun, Ga.) singled up the middle plating both players. Junior Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) doubled down the left line to score sophomore Kim Whaley (Maryville, Tenn.), who pinch ran for Little. Junior outfielder Whitney Durham (Rossville, Ga.) hit home run to left field to cap the scoring for the inning.

C-N got the final two runs needed to end the game via the eight-run advantage rule in the bottom of the sixth. With no outs and the bases loaded, Price singled up the middle, to score freshman catcher Bri Shoemake (Ooltewah, Tenn.) and sophomore outfielder Cassidy Skeen (Powell, Tenn.).

Junior Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) picked up the win on the mound for the Lady Eagles, striking out six, while allowing only four hits. Magen West (Whitney, Texas) suffered the loss for the Lady Bobcats, with eight runs on 11 hits in five innings of work.

“Ashley brings experience playing against Division I competition,” said Hollifield. “She knows how to mix her pitches and make them work. She has good command and keeps the ball down.”

Game Two – Carson-Nemwan 9, Lees-McRae 0 (five innings) - Box Score

The Lady Eagle bats picked up in the second game of the double header where the left off in the first.

Two runs in each of the first two innings gave Carson-Newman an advantage it would carry to the end of the game.

With Skeen on first, and two outs in the bottom of the first, Little blasted a rocket to right field that cleared the fence for her first home run of the season.

In the second frame, Durham led off with an infield single and was driven home two batters later by Shoemake’s double to centerfield. Shoemake completed her trip around the bases when Price singled down the right field line.

Carson-Newman got the runs it needed to end the game early in the bottom of the fourth. Junior third baseman Whitney Kee (Knoxville, Tenn.) led the inning off with a walk and was driven home by Price’s second hit of the game. Skeen had her first home run of the season when she hit a line drive to centerfield that gave her enough time to score the inside-the-park home run.

A single by Shealy gave way to Little’s second homer of the game, a two-run shot to right centerfield that gave the Lady Eagles a 9-0 advantage. C-N held on for three outs in the top of the fifth inning, completing the series sweep.

“Sara is seeing the ball well and working hard in practice,” added Hollifield. “She has not let up one bit from last year. She’s even coming to pitching practice just so she can watch pitches as they come in. I’m thrilled to see her have that kind of day.”

Shealy picked up the win for Carson-Newman striking out four and scattering two hits over four innings of work while Lees-McRae’s Bryce Campbell (Amherst, Va.) suffered the loss, allowing nine runs on ten hits.

Carson-Newman will next take the field on Tuesday when it hosts North Greenville in a doubleheader at 2:00 p.m., at the Lady Eagle Softball Complex.