Catamounts sweep South Carolina State, lose 2 of 3 To Elon

Playing a double header on the road is never an easy task for a team, unless the team you’re playing has only two wins on the season. The Catamounts made mincemeat out of the South Carolina State Bulldogs, sweeping them on their home turf, 10-1 and 10-0.Against the Bulldogs, sophomores Lauren Ross and Mendy McKenzie had phenomenal performances on the mound for WCU. In the 10-1 destruction in game one, Lauren Ross won her second straight game, improving her to 6&5 on the season. She allowed five hits and one run and struck out six. In the shutout against SC State, McKenzie fanned nine batters and gave up just two hits in just five innings of work. It was her second shutout of the season and the win improved her to 6&11 on the year.The Cats saw the return of sophomore Heather Pritchard who played in her first game since February 21 with an injury. The Catamounts also witnessed the first homerun of the young career of freshman Mollie Fowler, who hit a two-run homer in the second game.With the sweep of South Carolina State, the Catamounts won their third consecutive game and moved to 14&20 overall. After breezing past the Bulldogs, the Catamounts’ next feat was a crucial conference game against the Phoenix of Elon. Unfortunately, the three-game win streak came to an end as Elon defeated Western 1-0 and 3-2 in another double header on the road. However, in game three of the series, the Catamounts bounced back and blanked the Phoenix 6-0.In game one, the game was a nail biter as the Phoenix clung to the 1-0 victory. The game would be a heartbreaker for the Catamounts. With two outs and a runner on third base, Elon’s Melanie Helterbran popped up a ball to shallow center field that dropped in for a single. The single allowed Elon’s runner at third to score the first and only run of the contest, giving the Phoenix the victory.Ross once again started the game on the mound for the Catamounts and she was credited with the loss dropping her to 6&6 on the season. She threw 6.2 innings and allowed one run on six hits. She also threw a strikeout in the contest. On the offensive side, the Catamounts were unable to get into any sort of rhythm as they only had four hits for the whole contest. The four hits came from freshmen Danielle Reese, Fowler and Ross, and sophomore Stephanie Beatty.In game two, the Catamounts lost another close one to the Phoenix. After three scoreless innings, the Catamounts jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. However, the Phoenix found a way to bounce back and defeat the Catamounts 3-2, dropping the Catamounts to 1&4 in the Southern Conference. After racing out the 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, Helterbran hit McKenzie’s 1-0 pitch over the leftfield wall for the only homerun of the day. The homerun cut the Phoenix deficit to one with the score being 2-1. In the fifth inning, the Phoenix tied the game up after a pop fly was bobbled and dropped with two outs in the inning. The Phoenix took the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI single.Mendy McKenzie was once again credited with a loss after pitching six innings and allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out four. The loss puts McKenzie at 6&12 on the season. After winning three straight, the Catamounts lost two straight to conference foe Elon. However, in game three of the series, Western came to play, and they blanked the Phoenix 6-0, giving the Phoenix their first conference loss this season. The win improved the Catamounts to 15&22 overall and 2&4 in the Southern Conference.Ross recorded her first complete game shutout of the season as she pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. The victory put Ross over the .500 mark on the year, making her 7&6 overall.Winning their third game in the series to Elon and earning their second conference victory of the season puts the Catamounts currently in fifth place in the chase for the top position in the Southern Conference. However, with many more conference games remaining in the season, the Catamounts can inch closer and closer back to the top of the SoCon where they once were last season.