Tornados fall in regular season SAC finale
Bears take both games, 9-4 and 10-2
Brevard, N.C. - The Tornados celebrated Senior Day for Beth Brooker and Katie Thornburg on Saturday afternoon. The pair combined to go 3-10 on the afternoon, driving in four runs and scoring once apiece, but visiting Lenoir-Rhyne took home the wins, 9-4 and 10-2.
For the season, Brevard is 16-24, 2-14 in their inaugural season as full members of the SAC while Lenoir-Rhyne moves to 34-9, 11-5 in conference play.
Game 1: Lenoir-Rhyne 9, Brevard 4
Tornado starter Jennifer Gift (7-12) allowed eight runs in the top of the first inning before shutting the Bears down the remaining six innings, but the damage was done as Lauren Harris pitched five innings in relief to record the win in game one.
Lenoir-Rhyne sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first, which was highlighted by two runs coming in on a fielding miscue by the Tornados and a three-run home run by Noel Belk as the Bears took control of the game early.
Brevard came storming back in the second with three runs of their own, putting Thornburg and Katie Brown on base with a walk and a bunt single. A grounder by Sarah Carlos moved both runners into scoring position. A two-out walk issued to Becca Curlee loaded the bases for Brooker who dropped a single down the left field line scoring Thornburg and Brown on the play. A single up the middle by Kristina Clayton scored Curlee as Brevard cut the lead down to 8-3.
The Bears scored again in the top of the fourth as Sarah Atkins drove a line-drive home run over the centerfield fence with a full count to put the Bears back up by six.
Brevard answered in the bottom of the inning with a run of their own as Curlee drove a line-drive base hit to right center to score Carlos to make the score stand at 9-4.
The Tornados placed runners on base in the fifth, sixth and seventh, but were unable to cut into the lead any further in falling in game one.
Game 2: Lenoir-Rhyne 10, Brevard 2 (5)
A two-run single in the bottom of the first by Thornburg staked Tornados pitcher Liz Houser (9-11) to an early lead, but the Bears came back behind the pitching and hitting of Belk to take the nightcap of the doubleheader.
Lenoir-Rhyne got on the board in the top of the first as Atkins drove a double off the top of the wall in left center to score Belk to give the Bears an early lead.
Brevard took the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Brooker led off with a walk. On Clayton’s bunt single, Brooker kept going, sliding safely into third ahead of the throw, allowing Clayton to move to second. After a pair of flyouts to right field, Thornburg came through for the hosts, dropping a base hit into shallow right center scoring Brooker and Clayton to put Brevard up 2-1.
The Bears came back in the second, scoring four runs as Carlee Carpenter cleared the bases with a double to left center, scoring Beth Slater, Brittany Davidson and Belk, before scoring herself on Kat Rivers single through the right side of the infield.
Lenoir-Rhyne added five more in the third as Belk drove home Erin Evans with a single to left field, before a bases-clearing double by Atkins down the left field line plated Slater, Belk and Carpenter. Rivers followed with a double of her own, scoring Atkins to give the Bears a 10-2 lead which would stand as Lenoir-Rhyne completed the sweep.
The Tornados have one final doubleheader remaining in the 2009 regular season, as they host the King College Tornado on Monday, April 20th. First pitch for the game is set for 2 p.m. The Bears wrap up their regular season at Brevard and will be getting ready for the first round of the 2009 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Softball Tournament which will start on April 23rd.