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Lady Railsplitters rally; defeat Nova Southeastern 5-4 in Saint Leo Invite

SAINT LEO, FL -- A costly two-run throwing error bookended a two-rally that propelled the Lady Railsplitters to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over the Nova Southeastern Sharks on Sunday in the finale of the Saint Leo Softball Invitational in Saint Leo, Florida. After dropping the first three games in its trip down south, Lincoln Memorial rallied to salvage the weekend stop to improve to 14-7 overall. The Sharks, meanwhile, drop back to .500 at 11-11.

The Lady Railsplitters entered the top of the seventh trailing 4-3, but a single by Amanda Snow (Knoxville, TN), a walk by Jennifer Moose (Statesville, NC) and a Jaclyn Cokeroft (Longwood, FL) loaded the bases with one out. Meredith Johnson (Kenly, NC) instigated the two-run error with a grounder to the Shark third baseman, but a miscue on the throw allowed the Lady Railsplitters to take the lead as Moose and Kirstin Toole (De Bary, FL) came around to score.

Nova Southeastern provided some drama in the bottom of the seventh as Melanie Spicola drew a leadoff walk and Lorena Spaulding notched a bunt single. But, LMU pitcher Kirstin Toole wedged a pair of strikeouts between those two batters and induced a fly out by Erika Garcia to end the contest.

As was a theme of the weekend, the Lady Railsplitters fell behind early as the Sharks rallied with two outs to score three runs in the bottom of the first. Spaulding, Garcia and Taylor Rotz posted back-to-back-to-back singles to plate the first run, while Katey Blummer drilled a double to right field to tally two more runs.

The Lady Railsplitters' seventh-inning rally was a preceded by an earlier run as Lincoln Memorial fought back to tie the game with three combined runs in the second and third innings. Megan Tice (Orlando, FL) drove home Toole with a single in the second, while Brianna Mulkey (Kettering, OH) scored on a wild pitch and Johnson drew a bases loaded walk to add another notch in the run column in the third frame.

The Sharks regained the lead in the home half of the third inning with an RBI double from Garcia. The Lady Railsplitters stranded two runners on base in the fourth and one in the fifth before finally breaking through in their final trip to the plate.

Kirstin Toole was magnificent in relief of Samantha Smith (Knoxville, TN), who surrendered six hits and four runs in the four-inning start. Toole picked up the win to improve to 5-3 after relenting one hit, no runs and striking out three in three innings.

The Lady Railsplitters collected nine hits, led by Emilee Solomon (Knoxville, TN) and Snow's two-hit outings. Meredith Johnson contributed three RBI and a double in her first start of the 2014 campaign, while Megan Tice posted an RBI with a single.

Lincoln Memorial is scheduled to host Lee University for a two-game non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday, March 12 beginning at 2 p.m. at Dorothy Neely Field. South Atlantic Conference play gets underway this weekend as the Lady Railsplitters travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to face Queens on Saturday, March 15.

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