The Cleveland State Lady Cougar softball team started their four game weekend Region VII Conference series at Lady Cougar Field with Roane State in fine fashion by sweeping a doubleheader on Friday afternoon by taking a dramatic 6-5 win in game one and then pounding out an 8-2 win in game two.
The Raiderettes were able to turn the tables though, on Saturday as they returned the favor, taking game one, 6-3 and hanging on to get a split with a 4-3 win in game two.
For the third straight game, the Raiderettes opened play on Saturday by scoring in their very first turn at the plate in the top of the first. Three singles and and error produced a pair of runs as Kelly Cooper had an RBI single.
The visitors tacked on another run in the second frame as Abbey Boling singled in the run for a 3-0 advantage.
The Lady Cougars finally got on the board with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Leslie Nunnelly and Emily Huston both singled and scored on a double from Perry Hindi to slice the lead to a single run at 3-2.
The score stayed right there until the top of the seventh when the Raiderettes picked up three big insurance runs. Amber Mainord supplied the big hit with a double in the gap with the bases loaded to push the lead to 6-2.
The Lady Cougars mounted one last rally in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, three straight singles produced a run as Kristen Qualls singled in a run, but the rally ended there as the visitors recorded the final out to take game one.
Najmeh Brown went the distance to get the win for Roane State, while Ida Watson took the loss for Cleveland State.
"We never gave up and played hard today, we just keep digging ourselves a hole and then have to fight back all game long," stated Lady Cougar coach Katie Willingham. "We hit the ball well on Friday and got two badly needed wins, but we've got to find a way to be more consistent and win the series. Roane State is a good team, they battled and played well today."
The Raiderettes followed the same pattern in game two on Saturday as they had in the previous three games by putting runs on the board in their first turn at the plate. Sarah Freels doubled in a pair of runs to put the visitors on top and the Raiderettes pushed their lead to 3-0 in the second inning as the run crossed on a bases jammed walk.
The Lady Cougars got the zero off their side of the board in the bottom of the sixth as a pair of Raiderette errors led to the run. The visitors got that run back in the seventh as Freels unloaded a solo homer for a 4-1 advantage.
The home team did not go quietly as they mounted a last at-bat rally in the bottom of the seventh. Baylee Carroll drew a pinch hit walk to start the inning and with one out, Nunnelly went downtown with a two-run blast over the left field fence to all of a sudden slice the lead to 4-3. Out number two was recorded on a long fly ball to the base of the fence and after a single from Hindi, the final out was recorded on a highlight film diving stop from the Raiderette shortstop, Freels to put out the fire and gain a split of the four game series for Roane State.
Kelsey Haley took the loss for the Lady Cougars (4-10, 2-6) while Kary Russell went the distance to get the win for Roane State.
The Lady Cougars started the weekend off on the right foot on Friday afternoon as they took both ends of the twinbill.
The Raiderettes struck first in game one with a three-spot in the their first turn at the plate. Kelly Cooper provided the big blow with a two-run homer.
The Lady Cougars got two of those runs back in the bottom of the frame as Perry Hindi doubled in a run and Kristen Qualls singled in another to cut the lead to 3-2.
Sarah Freels singled in a run for the visitors in the third, but the Raiderettes gave it back in the bottom of the frame on an error to keep the lead at one run, 4-3.
A nice squeeze bunt plated another run for Roane State in the fifth for a 5-3 advantage which set up the dramatic last at-bat for Cleveland State in the seventh.
Down to their final three outs the Lady Cougars went to work. Three straight singles by Sara O'Rear, Nunnelly and Houston loaded the bases. With one out, Qualls promptly unloaded them with a double into the right centerfield gap allowing all three runners to circle the bases with Houston going head first into home plate to give the Lady Cougars the win in dramatic fashion.
Watson picked up the win for Cleveland State in relief of Alexa Perian who started. Najmeh Brown took the loss for Roane State.
The Raiderettes scored first with a run in their first at-bat and added one more in the fourth as both runs crossed on Lady Cougar miscues.
Cleveland State tied the game with a run in the second and took the lead with a pair in the third as Hindi belted a two-run homer for a 3-2 lead. The home team then put the game out of reach with three big runs in the fifth as Houston tripled in a run and Hindi unloaded another two-run homer. Houston and Hindi added an RBI each in the sixth to finish the day and the win for the Lady Cougars.
Haley allowed only four hits, got 10 pop ups to the infield and gave up no earned runs as she went the distance to get the win for Cleveland State while Kary Russell took the loss for Roane State.
The Lady Cougars will travel to Snead State on Tuesday for a pair of games.