Lady Catamounts’ loses a trio on the road

Last season, the Lady Catamount Softball team broke the record for the most homeruns in a season, plus they won over 40 games. So far this season, those two statistics have a certain number in common: zero. Through the first five games of the 2007 season, the Lady Catamounts have zero wins and zero home runs. Stranded runners and missed opportunities would be Western’s undoing in losing three straight games in the span of four days. Western Carolina took on Lipscomb University in a doubleheader on February 11 and for the second day in a row; the Lady Catamounts would leave the Volunteer State with a pair of losses, dropping the first game, 1-0, and the second game, 5-1, in front of 132 fans at the Draper Diamond in Nashville, Tennessee. Western would attempt to get on the scoreboard early in the top of the first inning as sophomore Heather Pritchard doubled to centerfield to lead off the game and would steal third. That would be as far as she would get as the next three batters would strikeout to end the threat. In the bottom half of the first, the Lady Bison would get the only run they would need of the game on a single swing of the bat as Julia Davidson hit a Mendy McKenzie pitch over the leftfield fence for a homerun and the 1-0 lead. Western could not capitalize on its chances as they would get the lead-off runner on base in six of the seven innings but could not push any runs across the scoreboard and were handed a 1-0 defeat. McKenzie (0-2) would suffer the loss despite allowing only four hits, on a just a single run, walking three batters and striking out five. She also contributed at the plate as one of only four Lady Catamounts to register a hit in the game. The others being Pritchard, freshman Serena Smith and sophomore Stephanie Beatty, all four players went 1-for-3 for the game. In game two of the doubleheader, Lipscomb would defeat the Lady Catamounts courtesy of the long ball, by hitting a pair of 2-run homeruns. Lipscomb would get on the board first in the bottom of the second inning courtesy of a double and then a single would score the run for a 1-0 lead. Western would respond back in the top of the third inning with McKenzie reaching base on a 1-out single and would advance to second on a Pritchard sacrifice. Smith would bring McKenzie home on a double to register her first collegiate RBI to tie the game at one. Western would not get a runner past second base the rest of the game. The Lady Bison would put the game out of reach with a pair of 2-run homers in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a commanding 5-1 lead that would stand over the final inning and a-half to preserve the victory. Sophomore Savannah Filley would take the loss for 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out just one batter. McKenzie came into the game as a relief pitcher, pitching an inning and a third giving up just a single hit and striking out a pair, but the damage had already been done by the time she came on. McKenzie would go a solid 3-for-3 with three singles to lead the Lady Catamounts in hitting. Beatty, Pritchard and senior Ashley Adams each went 1-for-3 at the plate. Smith recorded both Western’s lone run and only extra base hit. Western’s offensive woes would continue as they went down to SEC country and dropped a 4-1 decision to the Gamecocks of South Carolina in front of 206 fans at Beckham Field in Columbia, South Carolina. The loss drops the Lady Catamounts to 0-5 on the season, matching their longest losing streak in the 2-year program’s history. Through the first four innings, it was a pitcher’s duel between sophomore Mendy McKenzie and Kate Pouliot of USC as neither pitcher had given up a single hit. In the bottom of the fifth, fortunes would change for Western as McKenzie would fan the first two batters, but an error by freshman Tatum Hargett would allow Adele Voigt of South Carolina to reach base. The next batter, McKenna Hughes, would capitalize on the error by cranking her 25th career run to the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead. South Carolina get two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth capitalizing on another Lady Catamount error to take a 4-0 advantage into the final inning. With a no-hitter still in tack, Savannah Filley would come on to pinch-hit for Nikki Bost and break up the no-no with a single right down the first base line. The next two batters would strike out swinging as Bost would return back into the game to run for Filley and would score on a Lauren Ross double, but the lone run was all Western could push across as they fall, 4-1. Filley and Ross were to only two Lady Catamounts to register hits with Heather Pritchard being the only other Western player to reach base. McKenzie would go to 0-3 on the season despite going six innings, allowing four runs, walking five and striking out seven. Run support has been tough to come by for McKenzie as she has only been given four runs to work with in three games (all losses). Her counterpart, Pouliot would get her fourth win of the season, going the distance: seven innings, one run, one walk and striking out 11.