HARROGATE, TN - The Lady Railsplitter bats laid dormant through the first three innings of Wednesday's doubleheader against King. But, a two-run fourth-inning awakened Lincoln Memorial University offensively and led to a two-game sweep of the Tornado in non-conference softball action at Dorothy Neely Field.
The Lady Railsplitters (10-2) rallied to capture a 3-2 victory in game one and kept the momentum rolling in an 8-0 five-inning thrashing of the Tornado in the night cap. Lincoln Memorial is off to the program's best start since 2011 and now have two more wins than any other South Atlantic Conference foe, while the King Tornado (2-7) lost for the fifth and sixth consecutive times on Wednesday.
Lincoln Memorial is set to begin a stretch that will take them on the road for nearly a month straight. This weekend, the Lady Railsplitters travel to Louisville, Kentucky for the Bellarmine Classic for a pair of games against Ashland and host Bellarmine.
Game One - Lincoln Memorial 3, King 2
King starter Hannah Light was dominant through three innings, allowing only one base runner and no hits while the Tornado offense scattered five hits and scored two runs over that same stretch.
Hannah Smith drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single in the top of the first, and Tori McComas accounted for King's second run with bases-loaded fielder's choice in the visitor's half of the third.
Staring up at a 2-0 deficit with no offensive output to speak of, the Lady Railsplitters were lifted by a clutch run-scoring triple off the bat of Payton Bruce (Maiden, NC) in the bottom of the fourth. Brianna Mulkey (Kettering, OH) collected the first LMU hit of the game with a well-placed single in front of the plate and Amanda Snow (Knoxville, TN) drew a walk to put runners in scoring position. Following a fielder's choice to put two outs on the board, Bruce launched a laser shot over the outstretched arm of the King right-fielder, clearing the bases to knot the game at 2-2.
Reliever Kirstin Toole (De Bary, FL) pitched around a leadoff hit by McComas in the top of the fifth, inducing a double play and a ground out to keep the stalemate intact.
The Lady Railsplitters, meanwhile, rallied once again in the bottom of the sixth. Mulkey walked to open the inning and Snow notched a single after fighting off three-straight two-strike pitches. With Mulkey on second, Toole drove a fly ball down the right-field line that plated the eventual game-winning run.
Toole finished off her relief win by pitching around a two-out walk to strand the tying run at first. Toole moved to 4-2 on the season after allowing no hits and no runs upon taking over for Samantha Smith (Knoxville, TN) in the top of the fifth. Smith went four innings in the start, surrendering seven hits and two runs over that stretch.
Hannah Light was on the hook for the loss for the Tornado, falling to 2-3 with six innings of four-hit, three-run ball. King collected seven hits in the contest with Fallon Thomas and Hannah Smith leading the charge in the middle of the order. Thomas was 2-for-2 with two runs and two walks, while Smith went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Game Two - Lincoln Memorial 8, King 0 (5 innings)
The Lady Railsplitters kept the momentum from game one's come-from-behind victory, scoring in all but one inning while scattering 10 hits (4 extra-base hits).
Senior Laura Taricano (Bradenton, FL), freshman Payton Bruce and junior Amanda Snow were at the center of LMU's offensive showcase. Taricano was 2-for-3 with two RBI, including her first home run of the season as well as the walk-off single in the bottom of the fifth. Snow, meanwhile, was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI. Bruce went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Emilee Solomon (Knoxville, TN), Toole, Kelly Dreier (Knoxville, TN) and Jennifer Moose (Statesville, NC) added hits in the contest.
Snow added to her offensive impact by tossing a complete game in only her second appearance on the mound this season. Snow allowed just two hits in five innings of scoreless work, striking out four to move to 1-0.
The Lady Railsplitters scored early and often as Bruce knocked in a pair of runs with a two-out double in the top of the first. After being held without a run in the second, Snow doubled home a run in the bottom of the third and later scored on a Toole single.
Taricano's first home run of the season added another tally for the Lady Railsplitters in the bottom of the fourth, and she eventually finished the game off with a run-scoring, two-out single in the bottom of the fifth to invoke the run rule. Prior to Taricano's fifth-inning base hit, Bruce and Dreier plated a pair of runs with RBI singles.
Chrissy Melcher and Allie Spell tallied the only hits of the contest for the Tornado, while Morgan Lowe was handed her fourth loss of the season after throwing four innings of six-hit, five-run ball. Hannah Light made a relief appearance, relenting four hits and three runs in two-thirds of an inning of work.