Jamie Hockaday hit a two-run home run in the third inning and
Taylor Morris threw a seven-hitter to lift Mars Hill College to a
2-0 victory over Tusculum College in an elimination game at the
Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Softball Tournament Saturday
morning at Whitley Park.
Morris (13-5) struck out five and walked one in a pitcher's duel with Tusculum righthander Kelly King (14-7), who allowed just five hits and struck out two.
Mars Hill (26-15) advanced to play Wingate in an another elimination game, but lost 6-1. Tusculum (31-19), the top seed in the tournament and the conference regular-season champion, was eliminated with the loss.
The Lions collected all five of their hits in the second and third innings, with a two-out single by Robyn Stanek in the third preceding Hockaday's fourth home run of the season.
Tusculum put the tying runs on base in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Morris got out of trouble in both innings to help the Lions advance.
Mars Hill had the game's first threat in the bottom of the second inning, loading the bases with one out on singles by Hockaday, Morris and Shaundee Woosley. However, King escaped by getting a strikeout and a groundout to keep the game scoreless.
In the third, the Pioneers put two runners on base as Alix Kruel drew a one-out walk and Carolyn Williamson reached on an infield single. Morris shut down the Tusculum threat by retiring the side on a strikeout and a grounder.
Tusculum threatened in the sixth as Miranda Beeler reached on a leadoff bunt single and Kaytlin Stroinski added a two-out single, but a strikeout from Morris kept the Lions ahead 2-0. The Pioneers mounted one last rally in the seventh on back-to-back singles from Samantha Silver and Kruel, but could not punch across the tying run.
Kruel reached in all three plate appearances for the Pioneers, on two hits and a walk, while Hockaday finished 2-for-3 and Morris was 1-for-2 with a walk for the Lions.