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February 29, 2024 7:07 pm

UMO splits road doubleheader at Francis Marion

FLORENCE, S.C. – Junior Ashlyn Porter launched a grand slam in the opening game, as the University of Mount Olive softball team earned a doubleheader split at Francis Marion in Conference Carolinas play on March 21, recording an 8-1 win in game one before falling 2-1 in game two.

With the split, the Trojans stand at 14-12 this season with a 3-3 record in league action. Mount Olive earns its first win since 2015 at Francis Marion while winning four of the previous six meetings between the sides. Meanwhile, the Patriots hold a 25-5 overall record with a 5-1 mark in conference play.

In game one, junior Courtlynn Cooney reached base on a leadoff bunt single before advancing to third on a stolen base and a sacrifice bunt. With one out in the top of the first, junior Cana Shrock produced a sacrifice fly to left field to give UMO an early edge, 1-0. In the second frame, junior Kylie Emanuele belted a solo homer to left-center, her seventh of the season, to extend the advantage to 2-0. The Trojans escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third inning before Porter registered an RBI single to center field to stretch the lead to 3-0.

After a scoreless fourth, Mount Olive led off the fifth inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out. The following at-bat, Porter blasted a grand slam to left field, her fifth home run of the year, to give UMO a 7-0 lead. The Patriots ended their scoreless drought in the bottom half with a solo homer to left field and trailed 7-1. UMO managed to reclaim its seven-run advantage in the top of the sixth after an RBI single to right field by sophomore Alyssa Smothers for an 8-1 lead. The Trojans held Francis Marion without a hit over the final two innings to secure the win.

Cooney finished four for four with two runs scored and a stolen base, while Porter posted a pair of hits, five RBI, one run scored and a stolen base.

Junior Hannah Killough improved to 8-4 in the circle after yielding one run on four hits with three strikeouts in six innings pitched. She forced the Patriots into nine flyouts and six groundouts while stranding 10 runners on base.

In game two, both pitchers produced stellar performances in a classic duel in the circle. Senior Lauren King tossed a complete game and surrendered two runs (both unearned) on four hits with two strikeouts in six innings pitched. She forced half the batters she faced into groundouts while retiring the side twice in the game.

The Trojans leaped ahead at the top of the first on a sacrifice fly from Porter to take a 1-0 lead. The Patriots capitalized on a throwing error and a hit-by-pitch to capture a 2-1 advantage. UMO left just three runners on base through the next five innings with one in scoring position. In the top of the seventh, Emanuele tripled to center field to lead off the frame before a pair of groundouts and a strikeout allowed Francis Marion to escape with the 2-1 win.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics