COLUMBUS, Ga. – An experienced King University softball team made history in the 2014 season opener at #25 Columbus State University on Friday afternoon. Hannah Light came within two outs of a no hitter and Chrissy Melcher ripped a two-run home run in the top of the seventh to give the Tornado the 2-0 win, their first win over a nationally ranked team since becoming NCAA Division II members in 2010.
Light, the reigning Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Year allowed five walks, but held down the Cougar offense as she only allowed one runner to reach second base in the game. Her no-hit bid was ended by her counterpart, Columbus State pitcher Taylor Turner who rolled a single through the right side after Light struck out the first batter of the seventh inning. The senior then rebounded to get a pair of groundouts to end the game and give King their first win of the year.
Turner nearly match Light pitch-for-pitch as she didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning when Amber Walker reached on an infield single after Octavia Lewis-Rand was hit by a pitch to start the inning. After Turner loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Melcher, Turner got a groundout to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.
Fallon Thomas recorded a hit for the Tornado (1-0) in the sixth inning, but was stranded by Turner. Light worked around a small jam in the sixth inning, stranding a pair of Columbus State (3-2) runners to give King a chance to take the lead in the seventh.
After an out, Allie Spell sparked the offense with a single to right field before another out brought Melcher, King's leadoff hitter to the plate. Melcher took two pitches before she laced her first home run of the season over the right center field fence to give King the lead. Light made those two runs stand as the Tornado topped #25 Columbus State 2-0 to open the season.
Light walked five, but struck out seven on 104 pitches in her first victory of the season while her counterpart Turner struck out eight, walked two and gave up four hits.
King continues play at the Cougar Classic hosted by Columbus State tomorrow afternoon. The Tornado face Lincoln Memorial University at 12:00 p.m. and Tusculum College at 2:30 p.m.