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Talon LaClair
Talon LaClair becomes just the eighth player in Lenoir-Rhyne softball history to earn All-American honors.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

LaClair’s Career Day Propels LR Softball to Doubleheader Sweep

Talon LaClair hit for the cycle and a program record 10 RBI in the first game and went 8-9 on the afternoon to lead the Lenoir-Rhyne Softball team to a sweep in a huge SAC doubleheader with Lincoln Memorial on Monday afternoon. LR won the first game 16-1 then used a six-run seventh inning to climb out of a three-run deficit to sweep Lincoln Memorial with an 11-8 win.. In the pivotal seventh inning, the Bears got a two-run home run from Lauren Rakes and a grand slam from Julia Mardigian. With the sweep, the Bears move in sole possession of second place with two games remaining on Saturday against Carson-Newman.

LaClair was the highlight of game one as she hit for the cycle with a grand slam in the first, a two-run double in the second, a two-run triple in the fourth then completed the cycle with a two-run single in the fifth. LaClair finished the day 4-4 with 10 RBIs.

Morgan Beeler won her 19th game as the senior allowed just one hit and one run in the complete game victory. The Bears finished with 18 hits, the second-most on the season as LaClair was joined by Lora Beth Wood with four hits in this contest.

Katelyn Rackard, Mardigian, Cassidy Wall, and Lauren Jackson all had a pair of hits as well as the Bears scored five in the first and fifth innings and three runs in the second and fourth.

The win in game one was the program’s 1200th victory all-time. The win was also the first win in Harrogate since 2017.
The 15 run victory in game one was the largest margin of victory in the 38 all-time matchups between these programs.

In game two, LR jumped out with a four-spot, all with two outs in the top of the 1st, highlighted by Wood’s 9th home run of the season. LaClair’s 6th hit and 3rd double of the day gave the Bears a 5-1 lead in the second inning.

However, LMU scored the next seven runs including a three-run sixth inning to take an 8-5 lead. Down by three with three outs remaining, the Bears turned to the long ball as Lauren Rakes got the Bears going with a two-run homer to get the Bears within one run.

After a double by Anna Blume, am infield hit from Kaylan Brown and a walk to Rackard, Mardigian delivered a grand slam over the left center wall to give the Bears the lead back. Beeler got the start and went two innings allowing five runs before Faith Carrigan came in relief allowing one run in 3 1/3. Brooklin Heavner threw 2/3 innings allowing a pair of runs to pick up her 4th victory of the year as Beeler returned to close out the game for her 5th save of the season.

LaClair’s 10 RBI are the most in a single-game this season in all of Division II. It also break the program record of eight RBIs set back in 1995 by Lori Bolick and again in 2005 by Leah Krohn.

These games were originally schedule for Friday April 7th but weather forced postponement.

The Bears will at least be the No. 2 seed and host the opening round of the SAC Tournament with a sweep of Carson-Newman on Saturday but the LR can also share the SAC regular season title with a sweep and if LMU sweeps Wingate on Saturday.

Wall’s 11-game hitting streak came to the end in game two. LaClair’s 10 RBIs were a career high, doubling her pervious high of five earlier this season against Belmont Abbey.

LaClair went from 12th to 4th in RBIs in the conference as the graduate student has 48 RBIs on the year. 48 RBIs is a career -best for LaClair who had 44 in her sophomore year in 2019.

Wood’s home run was her 18th of career. That was the Bears’ 4th victory this year when trailing heading into the seventh inning.

Lenoir-Rhyne improves to 33-9 overall, 15-7 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Bears will conclude the regular season with senior day on Saturday when Carson-Newman comes to town. First-pitch is schedule for 2pm.