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Lora Beth Wood
Lora Beth Wood went a combined five-of-seven with a run scored and three RBI.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Sweeps Doubleheader From Francis Marion

In a battle of NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, the Lenoir-Rhyne Softball team swept a key southeast regional matchup with Francis Marion on Wednesday afternoon. The two teams came into the day with a combined 35-5 record but it was the Bears that came away with two big regional wins in Hickory. Lora Beth Wood and Anna Blume homered in game one  as the Bears rolled in a 10-2 win, then Kaylan Brown hit her first career homerun in a 6-4 win in the night cap to complete the sweep. Lauren Rakes got the win in the first game and recorded her second save of the season in game two.

In game one, after the Patriots got on the board with a run in top of the third, Wood hit a two-out, three-run homerun to straight away center field to give the Bears the 3-1 lead. Bears tacked on two runs in the fourth inning as Anna Blume led off the inning with a single as the senior continued her hot stretch. Blume came around to score on a Katelyn Rackard ground out then a Talon LaClair RBI single closed out the scoring.

LR continued putting up crooked numbers as the Bears put up a four spot in the fifth highlighted by Blume’s three run homerun. For the seventh time in the Bears eleven home games, LR ended the contest via the mercy rule as Lauren Rakes was hit by the pitch with the bases loaded to give the Bears the 10-2 win.

Rakes (7-1) got the win in the circle allowing just the two runs while striking out four. The top three in the lineup, Rackard, Julia Mardigian and LaClair all had two hits, one run scored and knocked in a RBI.

In game two, Rackard extended her hitting streak to a dozen with a lead-off triple on the first pitch she saw. Mardigian then drove Rackard in with a sac fly to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. It was the 11th time the Bears have scored in the first inning this season.
Stepping up to the plate with two on and two out in the bottom of the second, Brown connected on her first career homerun to extend the lead to 4-0.

The game remained 4-0 until the 6th inning as the teams combined for five errors in the inning. Francis Marion scored three times but the Bears added two insurance runs off of two miscues by the Patriots. After back to back hits by Francis Marion in the 7th, Rakes came in relief of Beeler to close the game.

Beeler (9-2) went six plus allowing 4 runs (3 earned) while striking out eight including six in a row. Rackard, Wood and Faith Carrigan each had two hits in the contest.

These two teams played a 13 inning game last year with the Bears squeaking out a 5-3 win in Florence. Rakes threw a career best 10 2/3 innings in relief that day striking out 17 to earn the win.

Bears have move to 12-0 at home this season. Wall saw her 12 game hitting streak come to an end in game one. Wood has reached base in 14 straight games. Wood is hitting .513 during that stretch.

Rakes’ save in game two was her eighth career save which is one away from tying the program record.

Lenoir-Rhyne is 19-3 on the season. Bears will travel to Anderson for a key SAC doubleheader on Saturday. First-pitch is schedule for 2:00 PM from South Carolina.