Eagles, ‘Splitters split again in Harrogate

VIDEO: Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Interview

HARROGATE, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (21-11, 3-5 South Atlantic Conference) pounded out a season-high 17 hits in game one, before Lincoln Memorial (19-9, 2-2 SAC) rallied from a three-run deficit to grab a victory in the night cap Tuesday at Dorothy Neely Field.

The Eagles pounded out a 12-5 win in game one before LMU completed its comeback bid in game two 7-6.

"Both teams fought and battled all day long," head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said. "It's disappointing to play as hard as we did and come up short in game two.  I really thought we scored enough runs in game two to get the sweep too."

This marked the fourth straight split for Carson-Newman and Lincoln Memorial in Harrogate.  Carson-Newman hasn't grabbed a sweep of the 'Splitters in Harrogate since 2010.  LMU hasn't swept  C-N in the series since the late 90s. 

Katie Pritchett (Ringgold, Ga.) powered the Eagles' offense. The senior went 5-for-8 at the plate for the doubleheader with two bombs and four runs batted in.  Cheyenne Boles (Knoxville, Tenn.) went 3-for-6 while Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) and Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) went 4-for-9 and 3-for-7, respectively.  Fiessinger had two doubles, while Cooper belted a home run and drove in four.

Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) pitched in both games and struck out 11 in the doubleheader.

Game one: Carson-Newman 12, Lincoln Memorial 5

LMU struck first. Ty-Kella Goins struck out to open the game, but took first on a passed ball.  An infield single and a wild pitch moved her to third before Allie Jones drove her in with sacrifice fly. 

Carson-Newman got the run back in the top of the first.  Katie Pritchett (Ringgold, Ga.) yanked a solo bomb down the leftfield line after an 11-pitch at-bat to level it at one. 

LMU would retake the lead an inning later.  A single, a passed ball and a walk gave the Railsplitters runners on the corners with two out.  Emma Web tallied a timely two-out lick off  the shortstop to score the runner from third and give LMU a 2-1 lead. 

The Eagles would grab their first lead in the fourth.  Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) reached on an error to lead off the inning.  A Pritchett single through the left side moved her into scoring position and gave C-N two base runners. 

Cheyenne Boles (Knoxville, Tenn.) dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Caldwell and a pinch-running Madison Mathis (Chattanooga, Tenn.) into scoring position.  Following a K, Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) and Kristen Toppel (Roanoke, Va.) knocked back-to-back two-out, run-producing hits back up the box and to short to send C-N in front 3-2.

The Eagles then pounced for a six-run sixth.  Pritchett walked to lead off the inning.  A pop up put out number one on the board.  Then Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) doubled down the left field line to give the Eagles two runners in scoring position. 

Ashlyn Cooper took advantage by blasting a no-doubter into the jet stream to left. The three-run tank put C-N up 6-2, but the Eagles weren't done for the inning. 

Toppel and Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) knocked base hits to third and through the left side, respectively to give the Eagles more base runners.

KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) belted a double that banged off the wall in center to score the duo and push the advantage to 8-2.  A Caldwell single back up the box finished up the scoring and sent C-N in front 9-2.

LMU would get runs back in the bottom of the sixth. A double to left center followed by an E6 gave the Railsplitters runners on the corners without an out.  Ashlea Hunter ripped a double through the left side of the infield to score both base runners and pull LMU within five. 

The Eagles would get all those runs back and then some in the top of the seventh.  A Copper single and a Toppel sacrifice gave C-N a runner in scoring position.  Fiessinger doubled into the right centerfield alley way to drive in Cooper.  Levi then rapped a base hit to right to give the Eagles runners on the corners. 

Rinus took advantage, yanking a 1-1 pitch into left to score Fiessinger.  Levi moved over to third, then scored as Caldwell drove her in with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.  When the dust settled the Eagles were up 12-4. 

LMU scraped back a run in the seventh, but the Eagles locked in to collect the seven-run win. 

Lacie Rinus notched the victory in the circle for the Eagles. She moves to 13-6 with the triumph.  Rinus allowed six hits and four of the runs, only two of which were earned. She struck out eight. 

Brianna Taylor took the loss for LMU.  She gave up 17 hits and 12 runs, 10 of which were earned.  

Game two: Lincoln Memorial 7, Carson-Newman 6

Carson-Newman wasted no time to grab a lead in game two.  A Levi single to right center, a Rinus walk and a Caldwell single down the leftfield line loaded  the bases for C-N with one out.  Pritchett delivered a timely knock up the middle of the infield to score Rinus and Levi. The one-out hit gave C-N a 2-0 lead. 

Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) added to it with a sacrifice fly to center to set the margin at 3-0 after one. 

The Railsplitters loaded the bases in the bottom of the first with one out off a trio of infield singles. However, Rinus got out of the jam inducing a pop up to second and a fielder's choice to short.

The Eagles scraped another run across in the third.  Rinus looped a triple off the wall in left to open up the inning, then Caldwell drove her in with a sacrifice fly to center field to put C-N up 4-0. 

The Railsplitters got a run back in the bottom of the third with a Webb one-out double off the wall in left.   That made it 4-1 Eagles.

The Eagles and 'Splitters traded runs in the fifth.  In the road half, Rinus scored an unearned run on a fielding error at short on a ball hit by Cheyenne Boles (Knoxville, Tenn.).

The Railsplitters got the run back in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back doubles from Goins and Grace Cochran.  The Eagles were up 5-2 after five. 

LMU would put together a big inning in the sixth to take the lead.  With the bases loaded and no one out, relief pitcher Valerie Seay issued a free pass to Teddi Collins to bring in a run.  After a fielder's choice, Cochran tripled through the left side to put LMU up 6-5.  An error at second brought in an insurance run and put LMU up 7-5.

Katie Pritchett hit a two-out bomb to pull C-N within one in the seventh.  But couldn't keep the rally rolling to fall 7-6. 

Rinus pitched  the majority of the game for the Eagles, firing five innings in a start. She allowed eight hits and four runs.  Seay took the loss in relief to fall to 0-1. 

Justice Smith improved to 11-3 with the win. She scattered nine hits and six runs, five of which were earned.

The Eagles return to action Friday at noon against Wingate. Coverage will be available on  the Eagle Sports Network online at cneagles.com/live. 


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