Lancers equal best BSC start

Published 9:35 am Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Longwood University’s softball team equaled its best start in conference play in the school’s Big South era by taking its second straight series with a split of Saturday’s doubleheader with host Charleston Southern University.

After junior Sydney Gay threw a complete-game three-hitter Friday to help the Lancers earn a 4-2 series-opening win, Longwood (17-9, 5-1 Big South) captured an 8-3 win to clinch the series in the opening game Saturday. Charleston Southern (18-16, 2-4 Big South) took the series finale 4-2 to close out the weekend.

With the loss in the third game, Longwood sees its season-best eight-game winning streak come to a close while the Lancers’ 5-1 start in Big South play marks the third time in six seasons that the squad has opened conference play by winning five of its first six games.

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“I’m happy to go on the road and win two out of three against a Charleston Southern team that’s comfortable playing at home,” said Longwood Head Coach Kathy Riley. “I thought we competed hard in all three games.”

Sophomore Kasey Carr led the way for Longwood at the plate Saturday, finishing 5-for-5 while reaching base in all seven of her plate appearances. The performance from Carr helped her raise her batting average to .354 after she came into the day batting .279.

“I think what’s helped Kasey is that she’s gotten the chance to play more,” Riley said. “She’s been able to gain more confidence, and she’s really enjoying the opportunity to get out there to compete for us.”

With the pair of multi-hit games, Carr now has five multi-hit games this season. The Bedford product has collected hits in 11 of her last 12 games to lift herself to the second-highest batting average on the team this season.

“I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable,” Carr said. “I’m just stepping into the batter’s box trying to get a hit each opportunity that I have to help my team be successful.”

Junior Jordan Clark had three hits combined during Saturday’s games while freshman Jenna Dunn, junior Jessica Smith and sophomore Destiny Martinez had a hit in each of the two games. Junior Kaylynn Batten also had a pair of hits throughout the afternoon.

All four Longwood pitchers saw action in Saturday’s doubleheader and combined to allow six earned runs throughout the two games. Longwood’s pitchers finished with a combined nine strikeouts, as Gay led the way with seven.

With her combined seven strikeouts in Saturday’s games, Gay collected her 400th career strikeout, moving seven shy of matching the 409 career punchouts collected by Jen Steele for third place all-time on Longwood’s career strikeout list.

Longwood returned to Lancer Field on Tuesday for an afternoon doubleheader against Virginia Tech. Resuming their Big South schedule Friday, the Lancers will host Campbell University at 6 p.m.