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Julia Mardigan
Julia Mardigan had three hits combined in the conference opening doubleheader against Limestone.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Opens SAC Play With Doubleheader Sweep

The Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Team opened South Atlantic Conference play with a sweep of Limestone at Bears Field on a warm and sunny Thursday afternoon. LR came in ranked fourth in all of NCAA Division II in home runs and added three more long balls in the two wins. LR pitching held Limestone scoreless for 12 straight innings in the sweep. In game one, the Bears won 3-2, while LR won the nightcap 5-1.

In game one, Limestone jumped ahead 2-0 just four batters in. Faith Carrigan hit the lead off batter and then gave up a single to Katie Wilber. Santana Anderson and Abigail Price added RBI singles to make it 2-0 before Carrigan gave way to Madison Wilson. Wilson would go on to toss seven scoreless innings with four strikeouts. The freshman allowed four hits and two walks to improve to 6-1 in the circle. For Wilson to get the win, the LR bats had to dig out of an early hole. After Chelsey Stonesifer blanked LR for the first two innings, Katelyn Rackard lined a homer to dead center to make it 2-1. In the fifth inning, Lani Warren hit with two outs and a runner on third. Wilson took a 1-1 fast ball to right field for a 2-run bomb which proved to be the winning hit. Limestone had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the seventh but Wilson retired the final batter to seal the victory. Rackard finished 2-for-4 with two runs and Julia Mardigian was 2-for-2.

In game two, Lora Beth Wood was hit with the bases loaded for the first run in game two which came in the bottom of the third inning. Madison Primm had the decisive hit as her 2-run homer of the scoreboard made it 3-0 in the fourth inning. After Limestone starter Brenna Clayton walked her eighth batter of the game, Wood made her pay with a 2-RBI base hit to make it 5-0. Limestone would tally their lone run in the top of the 7th on a ground out from Price after a lead off triple. Lauren Rakes gave up seven hits in her complete game and struck out seven.

Limestone was unable to get the big hit all day. They left 12 on base in the first game and 12 more in game two. The two pitching staffs combined to walk 14 batters in the second game. The Saints were just 2-for-19 with runners on base in game two. Wood recorded her 500th career at bat in the 2-RBI single in her last at bat of game two.

Shena Hollar moves six wins shy of 1,000 for her career. LR had 36 home runs coming in to the doubleheader and had three more bombs. They totaled one solo shot and a pair of 2-run bombs. The Bears drew 11 walks in the doubleheader, including eight in the nightcap. The Bears have now won 13 straight at home. LR is 16-2 at home on the year. LR extended its winning streak to nine straight games.

Lenoir-Rhyne is 23-5 overall, 2-0 in the South Atlantic Conference: The Bears announced Saturday’s game at Tusculum has been rained out and rescheduled for April 15. LR will return to action at Young Harris on Tuesday at 2 p.m.