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Softball Sweeps Competition in Final Day at EKU Invitational

March 11, 2018

Box Score vs. Akron Box Score vs. NIU

The Basics
Score: Western Carolina 4, Akron 1; Western Carolina 9, Northern Illinois 8
Records: Western Carolina 6-14, Akron 1-16-1; Northern Illinois 5-14
Location: Richmond, Ky. (Gertrude Hood Field)

RICHMOND, Ky. - Western Carolina softball swept the final day of action Sunday at the EKU Invitational powering past Akron 4-1 and coming from behind to topple Northern Illinois 9-8 at Gertrude Hood Field.

Turning Point
With the score tied 1-1, Western Carolina plated three runs in the top of the third and held the Zips scoreless the remainder of the game.

How it Happened
- Western Carolina scored the first run of the game in the top of the first. Ashlyn Long hit a one-out double and scored on an Akron error.
- The Zips tied the game in the bottom of the second 1-1.
- Western Carolina reclaimed the lead for good with three runs in the top of the third. Long hit her second double of the day with one out and reached third on a Zips throwing error. Madison Armstrong laid down a beauty of a sacrifice bunt RBI to score Long. After Kailey McNeil drew a walk, Hunter Gibbons hit an RBI single scoring Armstrong. McNeil and Gibbons scored courtesy of a two RB single by Shaina Reed.

Inside the Box Score
- Rookie hurler Haley Brogden tossed her third complete game of the season and picked up the win moving to 2-2 on the year. She allowed one run on four hits, walked one and struck out six.
- The Catamounts had eight hits in the game.
- Long, Gibbons and Reed each had a pair of hits.
- Brogden and the Catamount defense had a trio of three up and three down innings.
- Akron had three errors in the game and the Catamounts had one.

Turning Point
Trailing 7-5 after six and a half innings, Western Carolina scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on to defeat Northern Illinois 9-8.

How it Happened
- Northern Illinois got on the board to open the game scoring three runs in the top of the first.
- The Huskies added two more runs in the top of the second.
- NIU scored one run in the top of the third.
- The Catamounts started to chip away at the Huskies' lead scoring three runs in the bottom of the second. Erica Hayes got things started with a one-out single. Ashlyn Long followed with a single and both scored when Armstrong hit a two-RBI single up the middle. Gibbons added the third and fourth runs of the inning with a two-run homerun.
- Northern Illinois got a run back scoring in the top of the fourth.
- WCU continued to whittle away getting back the run they gave up in the fourth with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth thanks to Long's RBI single.
- The Catamounts notched their second four-run inning in the bottom of the sixth to take its first lead, and only one needed, of the game. It all started when the Huskies' right fielder dropped a fly ball allowing Danielle Chapman to reach first and she moved to second on the play. With one out, E. Hayes singled past the shortstop moving Chapman to third. Long hit her second RBI single of the game scoring Chapman for the first run of the inning. Armstrong singled up the middle to load the bases. Gibbons hit a sacrifice fly RBI scoring E. Hayes and moving Long to third. A double-steal gave WCU its third run of the game when Long just missed the tag sliding home and Armstrong moved to second. Kailey McNeil doubled to score Armstrong for the fourth run of the inning.
- NIU made things interesting when the Huskies scored a run, in the top of the seventh, with one out to pull them within one run, 9-8. With runners at the corners and one out, NIU attempted a double steal of their own but a crafty Catamount defense got the out courtesy of an Armstrong strike down to McNeil at third for the second out. A fly out by the Huskies ended the inning and the game.

Inside the Box Score
- Kinsey Liscio got the start against NIU going 2.1 innings. She gave up six runs, five earned, on six hits and struck out three.
- Liscio was lifted with one out in the top of the third for junior pitcher Lily Hayes.
- L. Hayes closed out the game tossing 4.2 innings giving up two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out one. She earned her first win of the season improving to 1-7 on the year.
- The Catamounts had 11 hits in the game and gave up 12 to NIU.
- Long led the team going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.
- E. Hayes, Armstrong and Gibbons each had a pair of hits in the game.

News & Notes
- Western Carolina had its five-game losing streak snapped with the win over Akron.
- With the win over NIU, in the second game of the day, WCU is enjoying its first winning streak of the season having won back-to-back games.
- Armstrong had her nine-game consecutive on-base streak snapped against Akron.
- E. Hayes is on a four-game hitting streak.
- Western Carolina's nine runs against NIU is the most runs scored by the Catamounts in 14 games dating back to Feb. 18 when WCU scored 12 runs in the 13-12 loss to Gardner-Webb.
- Gibbons' homerun against NIU pushes her career total to 20 moving her into a tie for sixth place in the WCU record books. The junior centerfielder needs 10 homeruns to break the school record.
- L. Hayes moves into seventh place in the Catamount record books for strikeouts in a career with 136. - Gibbons is also moving up the program's career RBI chart. She currently has 84 RBI in her career ranking her sixth. She needs eight to move into fifth place.
- For the five games at the EKU Invitational, Western Carolina had a 2-3 record with a .231 team batting average. Long had a nice weekend at the plate with a .375 batting average, six hits, four runs, two RBI and two doubles. On the mound, Brogden went 1-1 in three appearances, and two starts, tossing 16.1 innings and striking out 14.

Up Next
Western Carolina's game at Appalachian State, scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, has been canceled due to the threat of inclement weather. No make-up game has been announced. Western Carolina will have an eight-day break before hosting Presbyterian in the Catamounts' home opener March 20.

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