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Laura Rakes
Laura Rakes finished the doubleheader with two home runs and seven runs batted in.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Splits Doubleheader to Open Season

Lenoir-Rhyne softball started out the 2024 season with a split against Lander in the home opener on Saturday afternoon. The Bears staged a valiant comeback attempt in game one, but fell 10-7 and used a huge second inning to win the night cap, 9-1.

In the first game, a grand slam by Abbie Behe broke the game open in the top of the third as her shot went down the leftfield line on a 1-1 pitch to put Lander up. Cassidy Wall hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead in half. However, Lander would extend the lead to 8-2 with four unanswered runs.

Down to their final at bat, the Bears didn’t go down quietly. In the first at bat of her career, Madison Primm hit the first collegiate pitch she saw over the left field fence to start the 7th inning. Lauren Rakes would then hit the game’s second grand slam as LR cut the lead to 10-7. The Bears would load the bases with two outs but Olivia Veidt shut the door to earn the save.

Lander was led by Behe’s six RBIs on the day. The first four hitters in the Lander lineup each had multiple hits. The Bears were led by a 3-for-4 performance from Wall and Rakes’ 2-for-3 with a walk. However, Rakes took the loss in the circle by giving up five runs in 3.1 innings.

LR came out of the gates hot in the second game as they earned the split. The Bears blew the game open with a 7-run second inning. Abbey Nixon led off the frame with a triple down the right field line and Camden Gerland followed with a home run off the scoreboard.

After a walk drawn by Katelyn Rackard, Julia Mardigian hit a home run almost exactly in the same spot as Gerland, off the scoreboard in left center. Three batters later, Rakes smashed a 3-run bomb as LR erupted for seven runs on six hits.

Lander got one in the third before LR answered with a run in the bottom of the 4th on a RBI single from Gerland. Lander had runners on the corners with one out in the top of the fifth but Rackard made a great play to her left and then turned a double play to evoke the mercy rule.

Wall was 2-for-2 and Gerland went 2-for-3 with three runs driven in. Alissa Russ earned her first win in her first start, giving up one run in five innings.

LR hit six home runs on the afternoon. Rakes finished the doubleheader with two HR and 7 RBI. Wall went 5-of-6 across the doubleheader. Gerland had five RBI as a freshman and nearly matched that season total today where she drove in three. The Bears had nine extra base hits in the two games.

This was the opener of the 25th season at Lenoir-Rhyne for head coach Shena Hollar. With the game two victory, Hollar runs her career win total to 972. LR is 18-9 all-time against Lander. This is the first time ever that LR has met Lander in a season-opening doubleheader.

The Bears return to action on Wednesday when they host UNC Pembroke starting at 2 p.m.