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Julia Mardigan
Julia Mardigan went a combined four-for-nine with a run scored and an RBI.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Advance to SAC Championship

In two absolute instant classics, the Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Team sweep #7 Wingate to move on to next weekend’s championship series. In the first game, LR used two home runs from Katelyn Rackard to help force extra innings where Lauren Rakes drove in the winning run and pickup the victory in the circle in the Bears 5-4 win in a 11-inning thriller. Then in the second game, the Bears scored five times in the top of the 7th including a three-run home run from Cassidy Wall to help defeat the Bulldogs 9-8. The Bears will now travel to Anderson for a best of three series starting on Friday.

In game one, Wingate got on the board first when SAC Player of the Year Savannah Brooks drew a bases loaded walk. Rackard then got the run back with an long home run into the trees in right center. Her second home run of the tournament. Madison Primm give the Bears the lead for the first time with a RBI single in the 6th. Bears thought they added key insurance runs when Rackard hit another home run in the 7th to give LR a 4-1 lead with three out to get. WIngate then tied it with a three-run bottom of the 7th as the Bulldogs forced extra innings. No one scored in the 8th, 9th and 10th but Lauren Rakes delivered a two-out RBI single to give the Bears the lead. Wingate had the tying and winning run on base in the bottom of the 11th but Rakes forced a groundout to force the if game. Rakes got the win in the circle pitching the final 4 2/3 innings. Rakes allowed three hits and no runs to pick up win number 17. Madison Wilson started and threw 6 1/3 innings allowing four runs. Bears had 11 hits lead by two from Rackard, Julia Mardigian and Cassidy Wall.

In game two, Wingate’s Sydney Kale got the Bulldogs on the board with a two-run home run in the top of the 1st. Bears did not waste any time coming back as Primm and Wall hit home runs in the next half inning to tie it at two. In the bottom of the second, WIngate scored three more times to take a 5-2 lead. Mardigian then cut the lead back to one with a two-run home run in the 3rd. The 5th home run of the game belong to Regan Liles as the Bulldogs took a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 3rd. That is where we stood until the 7th when the Bears scored five times including a two-run single by Primm to tie it at six. Then Wall hit a three-run homerun to give the Bears a 9-6 lead to go with three outs remaining. Wingate had the bases loaded when Hannah Stevens potential game-winning grand slam hits the top of the wall. Wall got the ball in so quickly and trapped the game-tying run in between third and home as LR flawless executes the run down to get the key second out. Then Faith Carrigan gets the last out to fly out to centerfield as the Bears complete the comeback and advances.

The Bears won four straight games to advance to the championship series. Bears won two in walk-off fashion, and two in extra innings. Twelve runs were scored in the two games in the 7th inning today. All five games this weekend saw runs scored in the 7th inning to win the game or force extra innings.

Rakes cross over the 800 strikeout mark today, Rakes is just the second place in program history to achieve that mark. Bears are up to 81 home runs after today’s games. Carrigan got the win in the second game pitching five innings allowing just two earned runs. Game one was the longest game since a 13 innings game on February 26th 2022 against Francis Marion. LR is 4-1 in extra innings this season and 2-0 in this tournament.

Lenoir-Rhyne is 43-14 on the season. Bears will head to Anderson for best of three series starting on Friday.

{Information provided by Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics}