The Cleveland State softball team split a non-conference doubleheader with Gadsden State Monday afternoon at Lady Cougar Field.
The Cardinals built a big lead and then held off a late Lady Cougars rally to take game one, 7-6. The home team bounced back to gain the split with a 6-3 win in game two.
The Lady Cougars drew first blood in game one in their first turn at the plate, when Perry Hindi singled in a run for a quick 1-0 lead.
Two singles, an error and a passed ball got the Cardinals rolling in the fourth inning as they scored three times to take the lead. The visitors added four more in the fourth. Three more Lady Cougar miscues in the field led to all four runs scoring on one play with T.K. O’Neal sending a shot into the right-field corner to clear the bases. O’Neal never slowed down, coming all the way around to score herself and pushing the Gadsden cushion to 7-1.
Cleveland State cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a single by Miranda Smith and a fielder’s choice grounder that put two runs on the board.
Trailing 7-3, the Lady Cougars didn’t quit and came within 60 feet of tying the game in the bottom of the seventh. A walk followed by singles from Emily Huston and Hannah Powell loaded the bases. Kristen Qualls promptly unloaded them with a three-run triple to slice the lead to a single run at 7-6. The rally ended there when the Lady Cougars couldn’t manage to get the tying run across and the visitors held on for the win in game one.
Brittany Bishop went the distance to pick up the win for Gadsden State in game one, while Alexa Perian took the loss.
The Lady Cougars jumped on top to start game two with four big runs, batting around in the bottom of the second inning and doing all the damage with two outs. A seemingly harmless error opened the floodgates and the home team capitalized on the mistake. Four straight singles — from Ciera Belcher, Amber Swaney, Sara O’Rear and Leslie Nunnelly — produced three runs, with a fourth crossing home plate on a wild pitch.
The Cardinals cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth when a CSCC error plated one run and a plunked batter with the bases full of Cardinals accounted for the second.
Cleveland State got those two runs right back in the bottom half of the fourth. Once again it was Hindi coming through with a big two-run single to push the lead to 6-2.
The Cardinals scratched out a run in the fifth on back-to-back doubles from Regina Richey and Hannah McCreless. The visitors then mounted a rally in their last turn at the plate in the seventh, putting runners on first and third. But the Lady Cougars were equal to the task and quashed the rally to nail down the win.
Kelsey Haley went the distance to get the win for the Lady Cougars (2-6) scattering six hits along the way while Bethany Chamblee took the loss for Gadsden State.
Cleveland State will travel to Georgia Highlands on Wednesday for a pair of games with the Lady Chargers.