Cleveland State’s Lady Pioneers circled their wagons on Lady Cougar Field Saturday afternoon and in the process swept a Region VII doubleheader from Cleveland State, 5-1 and 5-4.
It was sophomore day for the Lady Cougars as Kelsey Baker, Dee Elswick, Madison McKinney, English Nichols, Abby O'Rear, Courtney Patrick and Paige Smith played their final home Region game and were honored with a plaque and flowers between games.
The Lady Pioneers jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in game one with a pair of runs in the second inning on a two-run homer from Kelsey Tramel and then added two more an inning later on a groundout and a sacrifice fly from Whitney Ford and Katie Pfost.
The Lady Cougars scratched out a run in the bottom of the fifth as Abby O'Rear singled and came around to score on an infield single from Madison McKinney to slice the Volunteer lead to 4-1.
The Lady Pioneers tacked on a run in the top of the seventh as Jennifer Givens singled, stole second and third and scored on a wide throw to third to push the lead to 5-1. That would be all the run support that pitcher Pfost would require as she limited the Lady Cougars to only four hits while recording 11 strikeouts along the way. Courtney Patrick went the distance for Cleveland State but suffered the loss.
Volunteer State wasted no time in taking a lead in game two with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Pfost and Tramel singled in a run each to put the visitors on top 2-0, but Madison McKinney led off the home half of the frame with a solo shot over the left field fence to cut the lead in half after one inning, 2-1.
The Lady Pioneers tacked on a run in the third on a Lady Cougar miscue and another in the fifth on back to back doubles from Pfost and Tramel. Cleveland State scratched out a run in the fourth on a Lady Pioneer miscue to cut the lead to 4-2.
The Lady Cougars made the most out of their one hit in the sixth as they managed to tie the game at 4-4. O'Rear singled and came all the way around to score on a wild pitch. Casey Griffin and English Nichols both drew free passes and eventually moved to second and third with two outs. Madison McKinney then struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt for the apparent third out, but the Lady Pioneer catcher neglected to complete the out with a throw to first. Realizing that the inning was still alive, McKinney took off for second as most of the Volunteer State team was headed off the field. On the throw to second, Nichols scored the tying run to cap off the wild rally and tie the game.
The Lady Pioneers came right back to take the lead in the top of the seventh as Heather Daniel doubled in the go-ahead run. The Lady Cougars got the tying run on base in the bottom of the frame, but couldn't push it across as Volunteer State hung on for the sweep.
Meghan Smith suffered the loss in game two for Cleveland State (22-18, 7-9) while Kristen Todd picked up the win for Volunteer State.
The Lady Cougars will travel to Motlow State on Tuesday.