Cleveland, Ga. – It was an early run posted in the top of the first and a trey of runs in the second inning by the Bryan College Lions Softball Team that helped propel them past fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference opponent, Truett-McConnell University (Ga.), where the Bears were able to piece together only one run in the fifth inning before being handed the 4-1 loss. Game two of the doubleheader was a dual from the circle, and Bryan's Courtney Petty (FR/Lebanon, Tenn.) looked to be the pitcher outperforming with only two hits allowed entering the bottom of the ninth. All it took was one pitch that Truett-McConnell connected on and sent over the fence to swipe away the 1-0 victory in walk-off fashion and secure the conference split.
The Lions moved to 23-21 overall and 15-5 in the AAC, while the Bears concluded regular season play with an overall record of 26-17 and conference record of 11-9.
Kim Borowski (SR/Apopka, Fla.) led off for Bryan in the start of game one with a single to third base. Heidi Smith (FR/Cookeville, Tenn.) followed with a sacrifice bunt that advanced Borowski to second before she continued home when Olivia Gore (SR/Cookeville, Tenn.) connected and reached on a throwing error. The error resulted in Borowski scoring, which put the Lions on top 1-0.
The difference maker for Bryan came in the top of the second, and the rally was sparked by Ashley Brown (JR/Pikeville, Tenn.)'s single. Kaleigh Riley (SR/Hixson, Tenn.) laid down a bunt and reached because of an error by Truett-McConnell's first baseman. Brown took advantage of the mistake by reaching second, then third, and finally home for a 2-0 lead. Borowski singled, which moved Riley to scoring position at third. Borowski filled in the space by stealing second, and the play paid off as Gore ripped a two-run double down the right field line that plated both Borowski and Riley. These pair of runs were the last for the Lions in game one, and they proved to be enough.
A single, sac-bunt, and double was all it took for the Bears to avoid the blanking with their only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Bryan's starting pitcher, Sydney West (SO/White House, Tenn.), picked up the 4-1 after retiring three up and three down in both the sixth and seventh innings.
West hurled a complete seven innings and surrendered just five hits and one run while walking one and recording one strikeout. Borowski finished with a team-high two hits and two runs scored. Gore notched three runs batted in and a lone hit to lead the team in the RBI's column. Becca Zimmerman (SR/Naples, Fla.), Aubrie Osborne (FR/Chatsworth, Ga.), Marissa Murray (JR/Hixson, Tenn.), and Brown each delivered one hit apiece in the contest, while Brown and Riley scored one run, respectively.
Both sides responded with lockdown defenses in game two and took care of business from the circle, which led the to final being decided by one run in extras. Petty tossed eight innings, and the Bears only collected three hits with one run while striking out a total of seven times. Truett-McConnell's Taylor Nix got the win after nine innings of work where she scattered just six hits, no runs, two walks, and completed five K's.
Petty not only showed determination from the circle, but she aided the team with a game-high two hits in four at-bats. The other four hits came from Borowski, Gore, Brown, and Kayla Hayes (FR/Dresden, Tenn.) who all ended with one connection apiece.
The Bear's most promising inning was in the bottom of the fourth when they doubled and were given free passes on back-to-back walks, which loaded the bases, but two consecutive fly outs eliminated the threat for the Lions.
Bryan left one runner on in the fifth, two runners on in the sixth and seventh innings, one in the eighth, and three in the ninth while preventing Truett-McConnell from a LOB through the five frames. The Lions grounded out and the popped out to start the top of the ninth, but Petty and Borowski singled to give Bryan a chance at a run. Smith trailed and reached on a fielder's choice as Petty stayed safe due to a throwing error from the shortstop. The Lions were unable to capitalize as they struck out before turning over play to the Bears.
For her only hit of the game, Truett-McConnell's Milly Martinet stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth and brought her bat around. The ball met her bat and was blasted to center field for the walk-off solo shot, giving the Bears a 1-0 victory.
Bryan has one more challenging series remaining before the regular season comes to an end. No. 6 Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) hosts the Lions for a twinbill on Friday, Apr. 21, with the first pitch slated for 3pm.
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