After a 1-1 split earlier in the season in a double-header against University of Pikeville (UPike), the softball Patriots of University of the Cumberlands (UC) were unable to put down another win against the Bears to capture the Mid-South Conference (MSC) Play-in game and make it into the MSC Tournament.
The play-in game was held in Danville, KY on April 25th where the Patriots would step in as the home team as the higher seed after regular season play.
Going into the game, both teams knew this was their last shot in their quest to take home a MSC championship. With this kind of pressure, the game seemed to almost take on a domino effect as each team pushed to take the lead.
The Patriots scored first, pushing two runs across in the bottom of the 2nd with a nice sequence of hits. Rachel Akins (London, KY) started off the inning with a single to right field, followed by a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Ashleigh “Kat” Hopf (Dayton, OH) moving Akins over to second. Sophomore Jessica Speake (Lancaster, KY) then sent a two-run smash over the fence. The Bears answered right back in the top of the next inning, scoring two on string of hits and tying up the game at 2-2.
The Patriots took the lead again in the bottom of the 5th with a clutch RBI by Speake. And again, UPike came back in the top of the next inning with two runs scored after a dose of errors by the Patriot defense. UC would not back down as they would even up the game again with a solid run in the bottom of the 6th, started on a single by Brittny Lovelace (Middletown, OH) and a double by Erin Sears (Williamsburg, KY).
The game would go scoreless in 7th inning, keeping the teams tied up at 4-4, sending the game into extra innings. The Bears took advantage of this as they would put together just enough action to push another run across in the top of the 8th. The Patriots went into the bottom of the 8th swinging, but could not come out with the opportunity to keep the game going. The Patriots season would end in the MSC Play-in game in a very close 5-4 loss to the Bears.
The University of the Cumberlands Softball Patriots ends their season at 10-40 and a record of 5-16 in the MSC.