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September 23, 2023 11:31 pm

Sansbury reaches milestone in sweep versus SWU

MOUNT OLIVE – Head coach Mandy Sansbury reached the 300-win mark as the University of Mount Olive softball team swept a doubleheader against Southern Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon in Conference Carolinas play, posting a 6-1 win in game one before claiming a 17-0 run-rule victory in game two.

With the sweep, the Trojans improved to 17-13 this season with a 6-4 mark in conference action. Mount Olive secured its first series sweep in league play and moved to sixth in the standings. Meanwhile, the Warriors dropped to 3-27 overall behind a 1-11 record in conference play.

Sansbury clinched the milestone achievement in game one and has won 241 career games as the head coach of Mount Olive. She has posted three 30-win campaigns with the program after a three-year tenure at Glenville State.

In Game 1, junior Hannah Killough registered the win (9-5) after surrendering one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. She forced four flyouts and four groundouts while retiring the side in order twice. Freshman Bri Verme finished the opening game with one inning of scoreless relief and two strikeouts.

The Warriors scored the first run of the contest in the top of the first on an RBI single to left-center before UMO answered back in the bottom half. Sophomore Alyssa Smothers drew a walk before reaching third base on a fielding error. During the next at-bat, Smothers stole home to tie the contest at 1-1. With one out, a fielder’s choice placed runners on the corners before Mount Olive executed a double steal, which allowed junior Ashlyn Porter to score from third, 2-1.

After three scoreless innings, junior Cana Shrock led off the bottom of the fifth with a double down the left-field line. The following at-bat, Porter registered an RBI single to left field to extend the advantage to 3-1. In the bottom of the sixth, Mount Olive scored three runs on four hits after freshman Emily Cassidy led off the frame with a single to center field. A sacrifice bunt allowed Cassidy to advance to third base before junior Courtlynn Cooney recorded an RBI on an infield groundout, 4-1. With two outs, Smothers and Shrock delivered back-to-back singles before UMO once again scored on a double steal, 5-1. Porter followed with an RBI single to right field to stretch the lead to 6-1.

Shrock finished two for four with three runs scored and two stolen bases, while Porter went two for four with two RBI and one stolen base.

In game two, Mount Olive exploded for 17 runs on 15 hits with five players registering a multi-hit performance in the win. Cooney finished three for three with two RBI, two runs scored, and two stolen bases, while junior Kylie Emanuele went two for four with three RBI, one run scored, and a stolen base. Smothers and Cassidy each tallied a pair of hits and two RBI, while Verme also posted two hits at the plate.

In the bottom of the second, the Trojans scored 10 runs on six hits with the inning being highlighted by a two-run triple by Smothers and a two-run homer from Cassidy, her first collegiate home run. UMO added to the lead in the third inning with a two-out RBI double to right field by Shrock before Emanuele recorded an RBI on a single through the left side, 12-0. In the bottom of the fourth, Mount Olive scored on back-to-back bases-loaded walks before scoring on a fielding error later in the frame, 17-0.

Senior Lauren King recorded the win (4-4) after allowing no runs on just one hit with five strikeouts and two walks in three innings in the circle. Sophomore Callie Thorton tossed the final two scoreless innings with three hits surrendered and three strikeouts.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics