Fourth Inning Run Helps UNCP Split Series With Columbus State, 2-1
COLUMBUS, Ga. – Brea Hartley's homerun in the first at-bat of the game and Ashley Harrell's run in the fourth inning was monumental for the UNCP softball team as the Lady Braves captured the 2-1 victory to split the series with Peach Belt Conference opponent Columbus State on Saturday afternoon.
UNCP (15-30, 4-14 PBC) used the victory to snap a 13-game drought and to post the first win since March 18 against Georgia College. The Lady Braves notched five hits as Morgan Davis led the team with two, while Harltey, Kristen Hobbs and Kaytee Wilson each posted one hit. Columbus State (32-18, 7-9) collected three runs with two from Kristen Gregory. Kori Waugh scored the Cougars' only run with a homer in the seventh.
Natalie Klemann (6-8) went the full seven innings for UNCP as she allowed three hits, one earned run, and one walk but sent seven batters back to the dugout on strikeouts. Kelsey Gilliam (5-4) began the first four innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits, while Taylor Turner finished the final three innings and gave up two hits. The pitchers for Columbus State combined for nine strikeouts.
In the first at-bat of the game, Hartley drilled the ball over the left field fence to put the Lady Braves up one run despite Gilliam striking out the remaining three batters. Gilliam notched two strikeouts in the second inning, while Klemann allowed only one batter on base due to a walk in the second.
Harrell reached first in the fourth inning as she was hit by a pitch and moved around the bases on Holly Berry's sacrifice bunt and Kristen Hobbs' single through the right side to put Harrell on third. With Kaytee Wilson at bat, Harrell scored on an error by the catcher to give the Black and Gold a 2-0 lead until the seventh inning.
The Cougars used their first at-bat in the seventh to slam a home run over the left field fence, but Klemann denied any additional runs as she ended the game with a swing strikeout.
UNCP will close out the regular season on Sunday as the squad visits Georgia Southwestern (21-29, 3-15) in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Lady 'Canes Softball Field.