College Sports

Lady Eagles win pair in first round

Tessa Thomas and Lisa Kingsmore saw to it that Winthrop got off to early leads in both of their games on Friday.

Then, sophomore pitchers Megan Evans and Cari Wooldridge took matters into their hands as the Eagles downed Ohio and Fairfield in the first round of the Winthrop/adidas Invitational at Terry Field.

Thomas and Kingsmore had back-to-back, first-inning hits in both games to help the Eagles run their winning streak to six with the 2-0 and 6-2 victories.

Winthrop (14-10) continues pool play today with games against UNC Wilmington at 11 a.m. and N.C A&T at 3 p.m.

"That was fun," Winthrop coach Mark Cooke said. "When you get on top early, it's easy to be a good coach.

"Tessa and Lisa have been doing that for three years. They feed off each other's energy."

Kingsmore, who now has a 19-game hitting streak, ended the day with three doubles -- all in the second game -- and a single, while Thomas had two doubles and a pair of singles.

It didn't take long in the opener -- two pitches to be exact -- against Ohio for the Eagles' offense to give Evans all the runs she'd need to improve to 6-4.

Leadoff batter Thomas drilled Emily Wethington's second pitch down the left-field line for a double. Kingsmore, the Big South Conference's preseason player of the year, then singled up the middle and Thomas beat the throw to the plate.

Kingsmore tried to take second on the throw, but Bobcats catcher Jordan Paden alertly threw to shortstop Amanda Banks, who made the tag on Kingsmore.

The Eagles made it 2-0 in the third on three hits.

Thomas opened the inning with a single, stole second and scored when first baseman Mallory Hogan singled off Alicia Catlette's glove. Hogan moved to second when Lenny Stoddart walked.

Freshman catcher Lauren Levin singled to left, but Hogan wasn't able to beat Courtney Waters' throw to the plate.

Evans, a three-time Big South Conference pitcher of the week this season, went the distance for the Eagles, allowing four hits.

Ohio (4-6) mounted a threat in the fifth, but couldn't score, thanks to a diving catch by Hogan.

With one out, Melissa Bonner doubled and moved to third on a single by Maureen McKelvey. Hogan then made the leaping grab on Catlette's pop-up just in front of the plate.

Evans got pinch-hitter Allie Farrington to end the threat and the inning.

In the second game, Thomas and Kingsmore laced back-to-back doubles off Fairfield starter Kelli Panter to get on the board. Panter got the next two batters, but Stoddart singled and Jo-Lynn Smith doubled off the left-center field wall and the rout was on.

Wooldridge allowed five hits, struck out six and improved to 7-5. Both runs were unearned. Senior relief specialist Izzy Trottier pitched the last inning.

"Megan and Cari were superb today," Cooke said. "Megan's pitches were moving and she had great location.

• NOTE: Two players with area ties are making their presence known at N.C. A&T. Jennifer Luper, a freshman pitcher from Fort Mill, brought a 6-0 record into the tournament, while Lancaster's Yahamma White was batting .442.

• Tickets -- $5 adults, $3 students for tournament pass. Free for senior citizens and children under 12