BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King Lady Tornado softball team dropped two games to the Lenoir-Rhyne University Bears on a very dreary Friday afternoon. The guests defeated King 4-3 and 4-2 to drop the Lady Tornado to 2-6 on the season. Octavia Lewis-Rand hit her first collegiate home run in game two while she and Christina Melcher led the team with two hits, each.
GAME ONE: Lenoir-Rhyne 4, King 3 (F/8)
The Bears and Lady Tornado went to extra innings after the hosts tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Down 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, Christina Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) scored from second when Fallon Thomas (Bristol, Va./Virginia H.S.) hit a fly ball down the left field line and skipped beyond Brittany Corsen's reach.
Octavia Lewis-Rand (Columbus, Ga.) was brought in to pinch hit and for the second time off the bench this season the freshman delivered a base hit, a single to right center that tied the game 3-3.
In the top of the eighth, King put runners on first and second with the international tie break runner rule going into effect added to an intentional walk to Holie Jarman. After a weak ground out to Cassie Ringstaff at third moved runners the second and third, Katie Carpenter grounded deep in the 5-6 hole for an infield single and scored Elder from third to give the Bears a 4-3 lead.
King sent their 5-6-7 hitters up to the plate and had the tying run at third base with one out, but Fallon Thomas was pegged at the plate when LRU shortstop Chelsea Long fielded a grounder and sent in a perfect throw that led to the tag out at the plate.
Hannah Light (1-3) took the loss by allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits while striking out five. Christina Melcher led the team going 2-for-3 and a pair of singles.
GAME TWO: Lenoir-Rhyne 4, King 2
The Bears took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning before adding three more runs on a single by Katie Carpenter and a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Ashley Oliver. They also capitalized on a wild pitch by King starter Morgan White (Suwanne, Ga.) that allowed the team's fourth and final run to score.
King had been held to just one hit coming into their final at bat but began to heat up with three hits to begin the inning before knocking out LRU starter Brandi Hole (3-1) out of the game. Octavia Lewis-Rand led the inning off with a towering home run over the left field wall to defuse the shutout and get King on the board. The homer was the freshman's first of her collegiate career and team's second of the season.
Freshman Jordan Johnson (Marion, N.C.) then singled into left field and advanced to second on a passed ball by Hole. Two batters later, junior Stephanie Rodriguez (Lake Mary, Fla.) roped a liner off of second baseman Ciera Cockerham's glove, allowing Johnson to score and half the Bears' lead.
Lenoir-Rhyne then went to the bullpen and brought out game one starter Maryann Hoskins to finish off the Lady Tornado. Hoskins struck out Melcher and Hannah Smith, both swinging, to end the game, 4-2.
With two losses to the preseason No. 28 team in NCAA Division II, King falls to 2-6 on the season. They will play the USC Aiken Pacers on Monday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in doubleheader action.