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Softball Lady ‘Cats win first two at MEC Tournament

SALEM, Va. – The West Virginia Wesleyan (35-14-1) softball team won their first two games in the Mountain East Conference Tournament at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex on Friday. The Lady Bobcats knocked off Notre Dame (Ohio) 7-2 in game one and handled Charleston in game two by a score of 8-0.
The Falcons struck first, putting up two runs with two outs in the first inning. The Lady Bobcats roared back and scored four runs in the bottom half of the opening inning. Grace Hightower led the inning off with a base hit. Alli Robinson walked on four pitches to put runners at first and second base with one out. With runners at the corners and two outs, freshman Gracie Payne singled to right field to bring home Hightower. The next batter, Morgan Norris, put the Lady ‘Cats ahead with a double that cleared the bases. Destiny Alvarado continued the offensive production with a base hit that scored Norris. After one inning of play, WVWC led 4-2.
The freshman hitting duo of Payne and Norris struck again in the third inning. With one out, Payne singled to center field. Norris followed with a towering home run to left center that pushed the Lady Bobcat lead to four. The Lady Bobcats added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Alvarado picked up her second RBI knock of the game that scored Taylor Swartz.
MEC Pitcher of the Year Hannah Hudson settled in and quieted the Falcon offense. After allowing a pair of runs in the first inning, Hudson sat down 11 consecutive NDC hitters between the second and fifth innings. The Virginia native went the distance and struck out eight Falcons.
WVWC 8, UC 0 (5 inn.)
Despite walking the first hitter, Abigail O’Shields retired the next three UC hitters with two strikeouts and a flyout to conclude the top of the first. Hightower led off the Lady Bobcats’ half of the first inning with a walk. Osborne moved Hightower to first with a sac bunt. Robinson drove a hit to left field that and stole second that put runners at second and third for WVWC. A Charleston wild pitch scored Hightower to get the Lady ‘Cats on the board. Payne contributed another clutch two-out hit to put the Bobcats ahead, 2-0 after one.
Norris started the fourth inning with a walk. Alvarado dropped a bunt to move the first baseman to second. After a passed ball, Jenna Gomez scored Norris with an RBI fielder’s choice. Lauren Niglio singled on a bunt and Hightower walked to load the bases. With two outs, Robinson emptied the bases with a double to left center field that gave Wesleyan a six-run cushion.
Norris continued her hot day at the plate with a single in the fifth inning. Alvarado singled through the right side and moved Norris into scoring position. Norris scored on the next play because of a UC error. Niglio provided the walk-off hit and scored Alvarado to give WVWC an 8-0 win in five innings.
The Golden Eagle hitters could not produce versus O’Shields. The southpaw did not surrender a hit and struck out seven UC batters. Just three Charleston hitters managed to reach base versus O’Shields.

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