Tornado cap regular season with sweep of Erskine
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Having already clinched the Conference Carolinas regular season championship, the King University softball team hosted Erskine College to close out the regular season. The Tornado needed extra innings to take the first game 2-1 before winning game two 6-2 for the sweep.
Neither team was able to get any offense going early in game on as the teams combined for two hits through the first three innings. The Tornado finally got their first hit of the game, a Christina Melcher double to center field to leadoff the fourth inning. Fallon Thomas followed with a double down the left field line to score Melcher and give King the narrow advantage. However, Erskine pitcher Kelsey Spurrier got out of the inning without any more harm.
The Flying Fleet evened the score in sixth inning as Morgan Purcell laced a bases loaded one-out single to left field to score Jordan Suther. However, Hannah Light got a pair of groundouts to second base to escape the jam and keep the game tied.
After the Tornado stranded runners on the corners in the top of the eighth inning, they went to work on offense. Aubree Hutt was placed on second due to the international tiebreaker, and advanced to third on a Melcher fly out. Following a Fallon Thomas walk, Hannah Smith hit a groundball up the middle that the Erskine second basemen dove for and caught. However, she couldn't get an out and the winning run scored to give King the 2-1 victory.
Light allowed the one run on six hits in eight innings of work, and earned her 22nd win of the season. Smith let the offense with two hits and one run batted in.
Melcher and Cassie Ringstaff sparked the offense with back-to-back hits to lead off the bottom of the first inning of game two. After Ringstaff stole second, and moved to third on a groundout, she scored on a Tori McComas single down the left field line to give the Tornado (29-24, 17-3 CC) the 1-0 lead.
The Flying Fleet (14-22-2, 10-9-1 CC) answered with one run in the fourth inning, but pitcher Morgan White stranded the bases loaded to keep the score tied.
Nevertheless, King answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Melcher and Ringstaff both drove in runs to give the Tornado a 4-1 lead.
Erskine scored one run in the fifth to get back within two, but King put the game out of reach with a pair of runs in the sixth inning to take the game 6-2.
White got the start in the circle and allowed two runs on six hits in six innings of work. Morgan Lowe came in and tossed the final innings to close the game out. Melcher and Ringstaff paced the King offense with two hits apiece. With the wins, King pushes their winning streak to nine games.
King will be the No. 1 seed in the Conference Carolinas Tournament this weekend in Burlington, N.C. The Tornado faces eighth seeded Pfeiffer University at 12:00 p.m., on Friday.