MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive softball team swept the opening day of a round-robin event at Nancy Chapman Cassell Field on March 4, recording a 4-3 win over West Liberty before a walk-off 6-5 victory over Mercyhurst.
With the sweep, the Trojans improved to 6-8 overall and snapped a five-game skid while playing a pair of Atlantic Region opponents.
Against West Liberty, junior Hannah Killough earned the complete-game win (4-3) after yielding three earned runs on six hits with 11 strikeouts and four walks over 7 innings. It marked her fifth complete-game performance of the year while eclipsing double-digit strikeouts for the second time this year. Killough boasts a 2.92 ERA in seven starts while holding opponents to a .204 batting average.
At the plate, junior Courtlynn Cooney went 3 for 4 with one run scored and two stolen bases, while sophomore Alyssa Smothers went 2 for 3 with a solo homer, three RBI and one run scored. Junior Kylie Emanuele registered a pair of hits and teammate Cana Shrock delivered her team-leading seventh home run of the year.
In the bottom of the first, Smothers and Shrock produced back-to-back solo homers to left field to grab an early 2-0 advantage. The Hilltoppers answered back with an RBI single to left field to cut the deficit to 2-1. Following a walk and a single in the bottom of the second frame, Smothers laced a double to left-center to stretch the lead to 4-1. After four scoreless innings, West Liberty mounted a late rally in the top of the seventh behind a two-run home run with two outs. The Trojans sealed the win on a following at-bat with a groundout.
Against Mercyhurst, the Lakers leaped out to a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly to center field after a leadoff single and error advanced the runner to third base in the top of the first. During the bottom half, Shrock belted a two-run double to right-center to take the lead 2-1 before Emanuele collected an RBI on a fielder’s choice to put UMO ahead 3-1. In the bottom of the second inning, Cooney posted an RBI single through the left side to extend the lead to 4-1. Mercyhurst cut into the deficit in the top of the third with a pair of RBI singles to trail by a 4-3 margin. The Lakers tied the contest at 4-4 in the top of the sixth with a solo homer before the game went into extra innings.
The Lakers established a 5-4 advantage in the top of the eighth off a sacrifice fly before the Trojans came to the plate in the bottom half of the frame. Emanuele laced an RBI double down the left-field line to tie the game at 5-5 before freshman Emily Cassidy hit a walk-off RBI double to left field to secure the victory.
Sophomore Callie Thornton improved to 1-2 overall after surrendering just one run on two hits with three strikeouts in 5 innings of relief.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics