Cleveland State Lady Cougars Drop 2 Close Games In Columbia

Saturday, March 08, 2014 - by Bryan Grisham
The Cleveland State softball team hit the road for a weekend Region VII Conference four-game set with Columbia State. The Lady Cougars saw a lead slip away in the late innings in both games of Friday's doubleheader as the Lady Chargers came back to capture a 5-2 win in game one and then scored six times in their final two at-bats to take a dramatic comeback win in game two, 11-10.
Cleveland State jumped on top with a run in their very first at-bat in game one.
Sara O'Rear singled and moved to second on a nice sacrifice bunt by Leslie Nunnelly. Kristen Qualls then singled in the first run of the day.
The Lady Chargers got that run back in the bottom of the frame as Carmen Whitfield singled in the tying run. A sacrifice fly from    Morgan Ward put the home team on top in the bottom of the third, but the Lady Cougars came right back to tie the game in the fourth as Amber Swaney doubled in her sister, Ashley who had singled to tie the game at 2-2.
Columbia State then took control of game one with three big runs in their half of the fifth. Hayley Smothers singled in a run while an error and a sacrifice fly finished the inning and gave the home team a 5-2 lead.
Shelby Dawson finished strong to pick up the win for Columbia State while Ida Watson suffered the loss for the Lady Cougars.
Once again, the Lady Cougars jumped out front with a run in the top of the first in game two as Perry Hindi doubled in a run. A three-run homer by Ashlee Price gave the home team the lead in the bottom of the first, but a Lady Charger miscue and a sacrifice fly from O'Rear tied the score once again at 3-3.
Mandy Bunnell homered in the second to put the home team on top and a bases loaded walk pushed another Columbia run across in the fourth.
O'Rear singled in another run in the fourth and Jennifer Kern doubled in two-more to put the visitors on top 6-5.
Cleveland State seemingly put the game out of reach with four big runs in the fifth as Nunnelly doubled in three runs and O'Rear added her third RBI of the game to put her team up 10-5.
No one told Columbia State that it was over though, as they scored six times in the next two innings including a four-run bottom of the seventh. Bunnell stayed hot with an RBI double and an RBI single in each inning while Kari Gipson got the big hit in the seventh as she singled in the final two runs for the dramatic win.
Dawson picked up the win in game two as well in relief while Kelsey Haley took the loss for Cleveland State.

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