DUNCAN, S.C. – The Mars Hill softball team swept Converse on Saturday afternoon, claiming 5-2 and 8-4 victories, respectively at Tyger River Park.
GAME ONE: MHU 5, CON 2
The Lions' offense struck early with a RBI single off the bat of Kayleigh Jonas in the top of the first inning. Following a leadoff single from Ragan Broome and single from Christiana Marasa to put Broome in scoring position, Jonas laced a ball up the middle into center field to put Mars Hill up by a run.
Mars Hill added three runs in the top of the second inning. With the bases loaded, a sacrifice fly to center field from Broome plated Jordan Harris for the Lions' second run. Marasa's second hit of the game scored Krista Romine. Jonas picked up her second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to plate Marasa to give Mars Hill a 4-0 lead.
They tacked on one run in the top of the fourth as Jonas singled through the left-side of the field for her third RBI in the game.
Marasa, carrying a scoreless game into the bottom of the sixth, allowed two runs off of a Meredith Quarles two RBI single. With the bases loaded, Quarles broke the shutout with a shot through the right-side of the infield, allowing Courtney Walls and Marissa Steadman to score Converse's lone runs.
To close out the contest, Brittany Duncan retired all three batters she faced to pick up her first save of the season, securing the 5-2 win.
Marasa earned her third win of the season with six innings pitched, allowing two runs on five hits. Steadman was credited with the loss, giving up five runs on 10 hits.
GAME TWO: MHU 8, CON 4
Bobbi Jones' perfect day at the plate paced the Lions' 8-4 win to secure the sweep of Converse in game two. Jones went 4-for-4 at the plate, including two homeruns and three RBIs.
Addison Harris opened the scoring for the Lions in game two with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, plating Christiana Marasa. Jones crushed her first homerun of the day in the top of the fourth inning. Coral Foster hit a single into left-center field before Jones plated her with a shot over the left-center field fence to extend the Lions' lead to 3-0 after three innings.
Entering the fifth inning, Casey Stanek's no-hit bid came to an end with one out in the frame. A single from Mackenzie Wenz put Converse on base. Wenz scored later in the inning off of an Allison Plafcan two RBI single that found its way through the left-side of the infield. Following a Marissa Steadman walk to load the bases, Plafcan's rip through the gap plated Wenz and Jena Massing to pull within one run.
Mars Hill regained the two-run lead in the top of the sixth with a RBI double from Ragan Broome that scored Jones. They added to their lead in the top of the seventh with two homeruns, the first coming off of the bat of the pinch-hitting Taylor Lail. With Harris and Ashley Collins on base, Lail crushed a ball over the right-center field fence. The next at-bat, Jones hammered her second homerun of the game down the left field line to give Mars Hill an 8-2 lead entering the bottom half of the inning.
Converse battled to cut the lead in half. Quarles singled to right-center field for her fourth RBI of the day. With two outs in the inning and runners on second and third base, Brittany Duncan came in to close out the contest, getting Mckayla Davis to fly out to right field.
Lail and Jones ended the contest with three RBIs each. Plafcan led the Valkyries offense with two hits and two RBIs.
Stanek picked up her third win of the season, pitching 4.2 innings. She allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out four. Jianna Pellegrino was credited with the loss, pitching 6.2 innings and giving up five earned runs.
"Our team had a solid day at the plate with 21 hits," head coach Monica Gordy said.
The Lions improve to 6-4 on the year while Converse falls to 0-18 in the season.
"It was great to see our players step up and execute when we needed it most," Gordy added about her team's clutch hitting and pitching performances.
Mars Hill returns to action on Sunday, March 4 with contests against West Virginia Tech and Montreat. Action is set to begin at 3 p.m.