CULLOWHEE, N.C. — Winthrop and Western Carolina combined for 27 runs and 10 home runs as the two teams split a doubleheader, Wednesday afternoon at the Catamount Softball Complex.
Winthrop captured the first game of the day 7-5 before falling 8-7 in the nightcap and is now 12-13 on the year while Western Carolina is 8-14. The Eagles now lead the all-time series 6-2.
"It was a long, cold, and wind day," said Winthrop head coach Mark Cooke. "We hit the ball and scrapped all day. I felt Dallas King and Bradlee Holeman pitched well in relief in the first game. It wasn’t the best day for us but we competed hard."
Winthrop will be off for the next six days before its back in action on Wednesday, Mar. 20 when it heads to Boone, NC for a doubleheader versus Appalachian State at 4 p.m.
The Catamounts led 7-5 heading into the sixth inning before Alex White and Kelsey Ritter homered back-to-back to start off the inning to tie the game at 7-7. However, Western Carolina’s Shemekia Scotton hit a solo home run with two outs on a 1-2 pitch.
Trailing 4-0 heading into the top of the fifth in game two, Taylor Sigmon retired the first two Winthrop batters before Jenna Harbin singled to center for just the second hit of the game for the Eagles. That jump started the Eagles offense as Holli Ryan singled to right center and moved to second as Harbin worked her way to third. Zharne Glover walked to load the bases and Kristy Noble continued to swing a hot bat as she drove in Harbin and Brooke Tracy (who pinch-ran for Ryan). McKenzi Corn singled to second to score Glover to cut the deficit to 4-3. That brought up Chelsey Schoenfeldt with runners at the corners as she hit her second triple of the season for a 5-4 lead.
Western Carolina answered right away with three runs in the bottom half of the fifth with a bases clearing double to center off the bat of Heather Chastain.King was the Eagles starting pitcher and went 3.1 innings allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout. It was Sutton Watson that suffered the loss in relief as she allowed the solo home run in the sixth and is now 8-8 on the year.
In the first game of the day, the Eagles and Catamounts battled back-and-forth until Winthrop opened up the game with a four-run fifth inning.Trailing 3-2 heading into the top of the fifth, Corn got things started with a lead-off walk and Schoenfeldt followed with a four pitch walk to set up Alex White for an RBI chance. White singled to left field and advanced to second on an error by the catcher but not before Corn scored and Schoenfeldt moved to third. After Christine DeWitt flied out for the first out of the inning, Zharne Glover grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Schoenfeldt and left all the runners safe for a bases loaded opportunity for Melanie Andrea. The senior right fielder, batting lead-off, drew a walk to score the third run of the inning. Winthrop added the fourth run when Zuehlke scored on a wild pitch.
Winthrop fell behind 2-0 in the second inning as the Catamounts led off the inning with back-to-back home runs by Chastain and Sigmon.
The deficit didn’t last long as the Eagles tied the game in the top of the third thanks to a two-run single by Corn. Western Carolina jumped ahead 3-2 in the fourth inning Amelia Griffin scored on a fielder’s choice.
Western Carolina responded with a run in the bottom half of the fifth to cut the Winthrop lead to 6-3 but an insurance run was added in the sixth as Schoenfeldt led off the inning with a solo shot to right field, her seventh home run of the season and 23rd of her career.
Sara Allen picked up the win in relief as she allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with six walks and a strikeout to improve to 2-2 on the year. White was the only Eagle with multiple hits in game one as she finished 2-for-4 with a run and RBI.
The fifth inning was a big one for the Eagles as they combined for nine runs in the doubleheader. White finished with three hits on the day and two RBI while Schoenfeldt had two hits and three RBI. Schoenfeldt moved into a tie for third all-time in school history with her 23rd home run and into seventh on the all-time RBI list with 106.