Cougar News
Softball - Wed, Apr. 10, 2013
MAYFIELD, Ky. - In the sport of softball, it is always important that a team not help its opponent if they want to be in position to win the game. When a team faces a red-hot pitcher, that need becomes an imperative.
The Mid-Continent University softball team (6-22, 3-11) allowed just two earned runs in a double-header against the NAIA #22 Freed-Hardeman University Lady Lions (22-6, 10-0), but walks, errors, and Freed-Hardeman's Sarah Elizabeth Cousar all proved to be key factors, as Freed-Hardeman took both ends of a double header, defeating the Cougars 3-0 and 9-1.
Cousar was the story of game one. She recorded her first six outs via the strikeout, allowing just a two-out second inning single to Alyssa Ybarra in the first two frames, and the Lady Lions picked up the lead in the third inning. A two-out single from Mercedes Norfork was followed by a double from Amber Vansandt and the Lady Lions took the lead 1-0. Cousar continued to cruise, though Mid-Continent's Lindsey Rucker matched her pitch-for-pitch into the fourth frame, when a two-out error cost the Cougars another run, and Freed-Hardeman stretched their lead to 2-0. Another two-out miscue in the sixth frame allowed Freed-Hardeman a third run, and the Cougars offense proves unable to solve Cousar, as the Lady Lions took the win 3-0.
Both pitchers pitched well, with Cousar earning the win for Freed-Hardeman, allowing just two hits and a walk in the complete game shutout, fanning a career-high 15 Cougars in the process. Rucker (5-13) scattered six hits and five free passes in seven innings of work, yielding three runs - though only one was earned - striking out three for Mid-Continent. In addition to Ybarra's single in the second, Bry Navarro drew a walk in the bottom of the fourth, and Courtney Woods lined a double to left-center in the bottom of the fifth for Mid-Continent's only other hit of the game.
The Lady Lions tallied a run without the benefit of a hit in the first inning of game two, then caught a break in the top of the third. Mid-Continent committed a two-out error defensively, keeping the inning alive, and the Lady Lions took full advantage, notching three singles and a double after the error to push across five unearned runs and build a commanding 6-0 lead. Cousar was not dominant in game two, but she was still effective for the Lady Lions, as was Rucker in relief for the Cougars. Rucker kept the Lady Lions at bay until they caught another break with a dropped foul pop-up that allowed Freed-Hardeman to pick up three more unearned runs, stretching their lead to 9-0 and putting the Cougars in a position of needing to score twice to avoid a run-rule loss. In the bottom of the stanza, Anna Maziarka reached on an error, and one out later, Lindsey Rucker and Marissa Nickerson put together back-to-back singles to get Mid-Continent on the board and put the game-extending run at third with just one out. Woods stepped to the plate, lined out sharply to short. On the play, Rucker was caught off the base at third and the Lady Lions took the win 9-1.
Cousar (18-2) earned the win for Freed-Hardeman, scattering four hits and allowing one unearned run while striking out 10 Cougars. Colby Smith (1-7) was hit with the loss, allowing six runs - only one of which was earned - on three hits, walking six in two and two-thirds innings.
Mid-Continent will hit the road on Thursday afternoon to take on the NAIA #19 Lindsey Wilson College Blue Raiders (33-5). The teams will play a twin bill starting at 3 p.m., weather permitting, in Columbia, Ky.