The Spring Hill College softball team suffered two heartbreaking losses at the hands of archrival the University of Mobile on Sunday afternoon at Murray Field. Mobile took the opener 2-1 in extra innings and then the Lady Rams cut down the Badgers' tying run at the plate for the final out of a 3-2 decision in the nightcap.
In the first game, SHC starter Sam Brooks (9-16) and Mobile's Kamaron Strickland (7-6) turned in a classic pitchers' duel with the Rams landing the first blow in the 3rd inning when catcher Kirstyn Joiner singled home Holli McLeod with two outs. The Badgers answered in the bottom of the 4th when Haley Brown lifted a triple into right field and Kayla McCraney followed with a run-scoring single down the right field line with two outs.
Tied 1-1 going into the 8th inning, Mobile's Jessica Swanson drove in the game-winning run from 3rd base by beating out a grounder to the left side that SHC shortstop Monica Zeringue fired across the diamond just a step too late.
The Badgers moved the tying run to 3rd base with one out in the bottom of the frame only to ground out twice to Hannah Harrell at shortstop to close out the game.
Brooks allowed seven hits in her eight innings of work with six strikeouts and no walks. Strickland scattered six hits with one walk and three strikeouts for Mobile.
The second game opened with SHC starter Brittany Abate (7-4) allowing three runs off five hits before being relived by Brooks with one out in the 1st inning. From that point, Brooks found herself in another duel with UM's Victoria Buie (6-4).
The teams were deadlocked at 3-0 in favor of the 25th-ranked Lady Rams (31-16, 10-4 GCAC) until the bottom of the 7th when the Badgers put their first two hitters aboard with a single and a base-on-balls off Buie. Mobile then went to the bullpen and brought Christie Soulis in to close out the contest.
SHC right fielder Ersy Pacheco greeted Soulis with a triple to deep right-center that brought in Brooke Turlich and Jessica Edgar with no outs. Soulis got out of the jam, however, with a pop out to first base and a ground ball back to the mound that resulted in a pitcher-to-first-to-home double play when Pacheco was tagged out at home by Joiner off a strike to the plate from first baseman Desiree Pruett.
Brooks went 6.2 innings in the no decision with six hits, no walks and four strikeouts. Buie lasted six innings with three hits, a walk and six strikeouts while Soulis got the save.
For the Badgers at the plate, Turlich was 3-for-5 with a run scored and Pacheco was 4-for-6 with two RBI for the day. McLeod had three hits while Harrell and Truett added two more safeties for Mobile. Joiner collected four hits in the twin bill including three in the second game. Swanson tallied in three hits in the first game for the Rams.
Spring Hill (18-25, 3-9 GCAC) will visit Dillard University (2-19, 0-12 GCAC) for a conference doubleheader on Tuesday in New Orleans at 1 p.m.