Jody Mizelle connected on a go-ahead, RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth to lead the top-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne Bears to a 6-5 come-from-behind win over the fifth-seeded Lincoln Memorial Lady Railsplitters on day two of the 2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Championship on Friday at Middlesboro’s Lady Jacket Softball Field.
Lenoir-Rhyne (39-13) survived and advanced to face Anderson on Friday afternoon, while Lincoln Memorial (26-17) is eliminated from postseason play.
The Lady Railsplitters, who were ranked eighth in the most recent NCAA Division II Southeast Region poll, will be knocked out of the top eight in the final poll, which determines the participants for the NCAA Tournament. Lincoln Memorial concludes its season with a 26-17 mark that includes a program record 12 league victories.
The Lady Railsplitters took the lead two times and tied it on one other occasion, but the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears answered at every turn by scoring in the bottom half of all of LMU’s scoring frames.
After a more than hour and half rain delay, the Lady Railsplitters and Bears traded runs in the third frame. LMU’s Brianna Mulkey singled and smartly advanced to the vacant second base. While attempting to catch Mulkey taking the extra bag, L-R starter MaryAnn Hoskins threw the ball into right field, allowing Mulkey to take third. She then scored on a wild pitch. The Bears’ Haily Jarman erased that score with a two-out blast in the bottom of the inning.
The Lady Railsplitters moved back into the driver’s seat two innings later as freshman Jennifer Moose belted a two-out, three-run blast to dead center field, her third of the season, in the top of the fifth. But Lenoir-Rhyne responded once again. Mizelle trimmed the deficit to 4-2 with a leadoff home run in the bottom of that inning, while Lauren Elder came through with a bases-loaded double that skipped past Mulkey in center field, allowing all three runs to cross.
Lincoln Memorial briefly knotted the game with a Kirstin Toole RBI-single in the top of the sixth, but Mizelle dropped the eventual game-winning hit just in front of Emilee Solomon in left field, scoring Dakota Keller, who led off the frame with a single.
The Bears outhit the Lady Railsplitters, 10-8, with Mizelle and Jarman leading the way with a pair of knocks. Elder finished the afternoon 1-for-3 with three RBI, while Mizelle contributed two RBI. Mulkey paced Lincoln Memorial with three singles and a run scored, while Moose posted a team-high three RBI.
Hoskins was chased from the contest after 4-2/3 innings, but Brandi Hole stepped up in relief for the Bears. Hole improved to 20-4 after allowing only two hits and one runs in 2- 1/3 innings. Samantha Smith was saddled with the loss for Lincoln Memorial after allowing nine hits and six runs with four strikeouts in five innings pitched.