April 21, 2012
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CULLOWHEE, N.C. -Western Carolina softball (18-29, 5-12 Southern Conference) picked up a doubleheader sweep, 4-3 in extra innings and 7-4, over Southern Conference foe Elon (20-16, 8-9 SoCon) Saturday at the Catamount Softball Complex.
Senior centerfielder Erin Foster extended her hitting streak to twelve games, hitting safely in both games against the Phoenix. She also pushed her conference leading homerun tally to 17 with a homerun in each game. Foster's 57 hits ties her for fourth place in the Catamount single-season record book and her 48 RBI ranks her second for RBI in a season. She is also chasing the Catamount single-season homerun record, which is 21, set by Ashley Adamsin 2006.
Foster played heroine for Western Carolina in the first game. Tied at three, in the bottom of the ninth, the Catamounts were looking to avoid in the international tiebreaker rule - putting a runner on second to speed up the game.
Heather Chastain walked and Amelia Griffin doubled to right field to get something going for the Catamounts. With first base open, and one out, Jordan Fulton was intentionally walked to load the bases. It was a move that was perplexing to some, as the bases were intentionally loaded with Foster up to bat. The Elon head coach replaced starting pitcher Erin O'Shea, with Kari Pervell to face Foster, who took the first pitch up the middle to score pinch runner Bekah Burkettto win the game.
It was the second time, in the game, Foster had come through with the clutch hit. Trailing 2-1, in the bottom of the seventh, Jordan Fultonsingled up the middle, with two outs. Foster strolled to the plate and blasted a two-run homerun over the centerfield wall to tie the game at three and extend the game.
Western Carolina got in the hole early, to Elon, in the first game as Catamount starting pitcher Katie Kinggave up a run in the first inning to the Phoenix. Carleigh Nester was hit by a pitch and scored on an RBI single by Tomeka Watson.
The Catamounts tied the game, at one, in the bottom of the first. With one out, Fulton singled up the middle and scored on an RBI double by Kelly Braman.
King tossed a solid game going 7.2 innings allowing three runs on 10 hits. She was replaced by Amber Steinhardtin the eighth inning, with the game tied at three. Steinhardt tossed 1.1 innings of shutout softball, allowing just two hits, and picked up the win. Steinhardt improves to 7-6 on the season.
Western Carolina's nine hits were produced by the first four hitters in the WCU line-up. Amelia Griffinand Fulton each had three hits in the game, Foster had two and Braman had one.
Western Carolina scored in four of the seven innings, and hit two homeruns, to help the Catamounts take a doubleheader sweep of Elon, winning the second game 7-4.
Elon, just like in the first game, took the early lead, scoring a run in the top of the first. The Phoenix added a single run in the second inning to take an early 2-0 lead.
Western Carolina cut the Phoenix lead to one, 2-1, scoring a run in the bottom of the second. Steinhardt led off the inning with a single to right field. Haley Pace followed with a walk and Makenzi McAteerloaded the bases when she reached first on an error. With two outs, Fulton hit an RBI single to left centerfield, scoring Steinhardt. Pace attempted to go home on the play as well, but was called out at home plate.
The Catamounts took the lead in the bottom of the third. Foster led off the inning with a walk. Foster scored on an RBI double by Steinhardt and Steinhardt scored on an RBI single by Heather Chastian.
Elon fought back and took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth. With runners on first and second, the Phoenix's Ali Ford was struck out by Catamount pitcher Jordan Garrrett. However, the ball got past catcher Heather Chastain. Elon scored two runs on the passed ball.
Western Carolina took the lead for good, in the game, with one swing of Foster's bat in the bottom of the fourth. Griffin led off the inning with a walk, and with one out, Foster hit a laser shot over the left field wall to give WCU a 5-4 lead.
Braman iced the game for the Catamounts in the bottom of the sixth. Fulton led off the inning with a single and Braman homered to center field.
Garrett almost logged in a complete game but was taken out after 6.1 innings. A Catamount error and a walk given to Camille Hill made things interesting for the Catamounts. Steinhardt replaced Garrett with one out and runners at first and second. Steinhardt got the lead runner when she forced a ground out and threw out the runner at third. Watson singled to load the bases, but Steinhardt got out of the inning, when she forced an out at third.
Garrett took the win, improving to 7-15 on the season allowing four runs, only one earned, and had eight strikeouts. Steinhardt allowed just one hit and picked up her fourth save of the season.
Western Carolina will look for its first Southern Conference series sweep of the season on Sunday. The Catamounts host Elon at 1 p.m. at the Catamount softball Complex.