BRISTOL, Tenn. — Junior Brianna Mulkey became the all-time leader in stolen bases at Lincoln Memorial in the Lady Railsplitters’ two-game sweep over the King College Tornado in a nonconference softball action on Thursday.
Lincoln Memorial University (19-10) used a pair of stellar pitching performances en route to the doubleheader sweep, as Samantha Smith tossed a complete game in the opener, a 6-4 win for the Lady Railsplitters. Not to be outdone, Amanda Snow recorded a complete game of her own in Lincoln Memorial’s 3-1 triumph in the finale. With two wins over King College (9-16), LMU moved to 3-0 on the season against the Tornado with two more match ups looming on the horizon.
Junior outfielder Brianna Mulkey swiped one base in the opener to surpass Jo Jo Mize for the all-time lead in Lincoln Memorial softball history with 92 career stolen bases. Mulkey has accumulated that mark in only two and a half seasons at the top of the Lady Railsplitters’ batting order. She currently leads the South Atlantic Conference with 26 stolen bases and ranks 10th in the NCAA Division II in stolen bases per game at .96.
In game one, the Lady Railsplitters were limited to only one hit over the first three innings of action and found themselves facing a 1-0 deficit before breaking out with seven hits and six runs over their final four plate appearances to roll to a 6-4 win.
Freshman Samantha Smith moved to 13-5 on the season by turning in a complete-game performance on the mound for the Lady Railsplitters. Smith allowed only six hits and no earned runs while striking out four batters to earn the victory.
The Lady Railsplitters fell behind early after King rallied for a run in the bottom of the third behind Christina Melcher’s RBI single to center field. However, Lincoln Memorial quickly responded by knotting the game in the visitor’s half of the fourth, as Kirstin Toole came across the dish after an error by the Tornado pitcher. Toole sparked the rally for LMU with a lead off walk in the inning.
In the top of the fifth, the Lady Railsplitters busted the game open with a four-run outburst. Amanda Snow capped the scoring in that frame by pounding a two-run blast over the right-field wall, while Toole also notched an RBI single. The two-run home run was Snow’s team-leading sixth of the season.
Laura Taricano added her fifth homer of the season with a lead off, solo blast in the top half of the sixth to propel the Lady Railsplitters out to a commanding 6-1 advantage. King rallied with three runs on two hits and an error in the sixth but that was all the scoring they would mount, as LMU captured a 6-4 win after a one-two-three seventh inning.
Snow pitched the Lady Railsplitters to a 3-1 victory in the finale, as she notched a complete game in which she allowed only six hits and one earned run while fanning five batters. Snow improved to 3-2 on the season with the win.
After four-consecutive scoreless frames for both teams, the Lady Railsplitters got on the board in the top half of the fifth. Mulkey sparked that rally with a two-out triple and Kelly Dreier sent her home with an RBI single in the next at-bat.
King came back to tie the game in the home half of the sixth, using a one-out double by Fallon Thomas and an RBI single by Allie Spell to square the score at one apiece.
LMU rallied to the win behind two runs in the top of the seventh. Taricano and Dreier popped back-to-back singles, while Snow was walked to load the bases with one out in that inning. Sarah Walz walked in the next at-bat to break the tie and Jordyn Wilson added another run with an RBI single two batters later.
The Lady Railsplitters will return to action on Saturday with a two-game South Atlantic Conference set against the Brevard College Tornados at Dorothy Neely Field. Game one is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. It will also be Armed Forces Day, as the Lady Railsplitters will honor the men and women who serve our country.