HICKORY, N.C. - It took an extra frame to decide it, but the Georgia College & State University softball squad (31-23) got upended tonight (May 8) by Lenoir-Rhyne University (37-11) 3-2 in eight innings in the first round of the NCAA Southeast Regional.
Junior designated player Kayla Smith (Lexington, S.C.) got the scoring started in the top of the fifth, blasting a 1-2 pitch over the left center fence for a two-run home run, her fourth of the season.
With momentum clearly on the side of the Bobcats, LRU answered right back with two runs in the bottom half, plating a pair on a double down the left field line by second baseman Carlee Carpenter.
Then the game went scoreless again until the eighth, when Carpenter led off by reaching on an error. After a bunt single by catcher Sarah Atkins, the Bobcats retired the next two batters. With two out, centerfielder Erin Evans sent a single up the middle and GCSU centerfielder Sherquita Bostick (Florence, S.C.) fired a strike to home. Carpenter slid just ahead of the tag for the walk-off win.
Bobcat starter Mandy Chandler (Covington, Ga.) took the hard-luck loss (26-14), going all 7 2/3 innings while not allowing an earned run. The senior righty fanned eight, while walking just one and allowing seven hits. She had a no-hitter into the fourth, and at one point set down 11-straight Bear batters.
Noel Belk (16-3) got the win in eight innings of work, also not allowing an earned run as there was a total of seven errors combined. She struck out one and scattered five hits.
Freshman rightfielder Sabrina Chandler (Covington, Ga.) was the only multi-hit performer for the ‘cats, recording a pair of slap-hit singles in three trips.
The Bobcats are back in action tomorrow, May 9 in an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. taking on Peach Belt Conference (PBC) foe USC Aiken, who fell to Carson-Newman College 6-5 today in nine innings. Catch tomorrow's action on 88.9 WGUR and www.GCSURadio.com .
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