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L-R Softball Opens Season With No-Hitter
The Lenoir-Rhyne softball team opened the season with a doubleheader sweep over Lee on the road, winning 8-0 and 9-8. Lauren Rakes threw her second career no-hitter as the senior stuck out 14 batters while walking just two in the program’s 21st no-hitter and also became the sixth pitcher in program history with 500 career strikeouts. In the night cap, Lauren Jackson’s two-out, two-run single gave the Bears a 9-8 lead then Rakes came in and pick up the save to give the Bears the sweep.
In game one, Katelyn Rackard opened the scoring with a solo homerun in the third inning. Rackard finished the game 2-3 with 3 runs and 3 RBIs. The Bears broke open the game with six runs in the 4th inning including a grand slam from Talon LaClair.
LaClair, who missed all last season with injury, went 3-4 her first game back in 652 days. Rackard’s second home run closed the scoring and gave the Bears an 8-0 lead.
Rakes (1-0) did the rest as she stuck out the side in three of the six innings and only allowed two walks as Lee did not have a runner reach third base. Rakes is the 4th pitcher in program history to throw at least two no-hitters. Meredith O’Conner threw five career no-hitters including one of the three perfect games in history.
In game two, LaClair added her second homerun of the day in the top of the first, a two-run shot to straight away center field. Lee responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half, both with two outs.
LaClair’s 7th RBI of the day regained the lead for the Bears in the 2nd inning. Defense cost the Bears in the bottom of the 3rd as Lee plated four runs in the inning, all unearned.
The lead did not last long as the Bears tied it at six in the top of the 4th as Gianna Tamburello drove in two runs with a two-out single to left. After teams traded runs again, Lee took the lead 8-7 with an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th.
The Bears were down to their final out with the bases loaded when Lauren Jackson laced a two-out, two-run single to give the Bears a 9-8 lead. Morgan Beeler started and went 2 2/3 innings allowing six runs (two earned). Brooklin Heavner (1-0) came in relief to throw 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs.
Rakes came in to close the door to picked up her 7th career save. Rakes allowed a two-out double but struck out all three to give the Bears the sweep.
With the 8-0 win in game one, the Bears have now won four straight season openers. This was the first trip to Lee for the Bears, the only other meeting between these programs was a Bears 3-2 win in eight innings over Lee on February 2, 2018. The game was played in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The Bears travel to King on Wednesday for a double header. First pitch schedule for 1:00 PM.