VSN (admin) Published Thursday, March 09, 2023 – 13:30
MOBILE, AL — The #24 Patriots softball team defeated the #2 Mobile Rams not once, but twice for the team’s first real road games of the season. UC made it the defending champion of 2022 NAIA, putting up 11 runs across the two games. Cumberlands won the first game 5-2 and then won 6-3 to end the streak, giving Mobile its first consecutive losses since April 21, 2021.
Makenzie Keatts had the big bat that day, driving in four RBIs and Carly Oliver was right behind her with three of her own. The Pats grabbed five extra base hits with doubles from Keatts, Oliver, Bailey Turnbow and Mackenzie Pawlak while Hailey Wood hit a triple.
In the circle, it was a full team effort from the arms of Kaiti White, Talli Burgess and Morgan Radford. White got the start of game one, going 6.0 innings, giving up just two runs and knocking out one. Radford got the start of game two, throwing 5.0 innings, limiting the Rams to two earned runs and knocking out one. Burgess was relieved at both contests and closed the door on Mobile in both. In both games, Burgess pitched three innings, allowed no runs, three hits while striking out two
GAME ONE: PATS TAKE DOWN MOBILE, 5-2
It was a pitcher duel in the first four innings of the contest, with UC bringing in just two base runners after a hit by pitch and one miss. White and the defense took care of business for Cumberlands to keep the game scoreless. In the first inning, the Rams had a runner on and the batter hit a ball into left field for the double. The baserunner tried to go third, but Keatts put the ball into Emily Bryant, who attached the tag and called out the runner-up.
In the second and third innings, Mobile brought up two runners again, but White worked out of the jam. In the second she earned a strikeout and in the third she got a flyout and a groundout for not letting runners cross.
The fifth was when the game broke up for the UC offense. Turnbow drove the first pitch she saw into right field to make a double to start the inning. Turnbow advanced to third and then hit from the squeeze bunt that Meryn Livingston put down for a 1-0 lead. Taylor Green stepped up to run for Livingston. She advanced after a pinch hit Radford base hit and touched the first square she saw. Wood scored a single himself to load the bases for Oliver. With speed on the bases, Oliver roped the ball down the left field line, scoring both Green and Radford. Then Keatts followed with the fifth straight single in the inning to make Wood 4-0.
UC hit a three-up three-down inning on defense and got back to work at bats in the sixth inning. Once again, a double drove the offensive forward, this time Pawlak shot the ball into left field. Back-to-back singles from Livingston and Radford in the middle scored Pawlak to take the lead to 5-0.
Neither team scored in the innings of the next half, but in the seventh the Rams attempted to stage a comeback. They earned two singles and that put Burgess in the circle. Mobile earned another single and a hit by pitch scored their first run. Another single scored a run, leaving the bases loaded and the winning run on the plate. However, Burgess remained calm and rallied on the mound, issuing two popouts and a groundout to win the game 5-2.
UC DEFEATS MU FOR THE SWEEP, 6-3
The Patriots wasted no time in scoring in the second game. Wood earned a leadoff single and finished second to be in the scoring position with just one out. She then advanced another 60 feet after a wild pitch and Keatts took care of the rest, blasting a ball into left field, allowing Wood to mark and take a 1-0 lead.
The Rams responded with a walk and an error in the bottom half of the frame to tie the game 1-1. Then two hits in the third set gave Mobile the first lead of the day with 2:1.
A 1, 2, 3 inning in the third, capped by Radford, who knocked out the last batter, ignited the UCs offense. Pawlak earned a leadoff walk and Paxton Hoop knocked her out for second with a SAC Bunt. Radford came in to bat for himself, got back on the clutch and laced the ball to right field to end the game with the three-pointer. Wood hit a hard ball which the shortstop had to dive on, allowing Radford to score and Wood initially safe. Wood then stole her second baseman in the game to be in goal position for Oliver. The Georgetown, KY native hit the top of the left field wall and scored Wood, and she moved up to third on throw to be just 60 feet from another run. Keatts hit another hard grounder and it allowed Oliver to come home for the 5-2 lead.
In the bottom half of the innings, Mobile had a batsman who put the ball into the outfield trying to finish second. Pawlak took the ball and, for second, shot Maddie Sickau to gun down the runner.
In the sixth, Mobile led the inning with a solo home run into left field and then had a lone bringing Burgess into the circle. The runner advanced from first to third, but Burgess recorded a popout, strikeout, and groundout to pin the runner and keep it at 5-3.
Cumberlands got the run back to the top of seventh, led by Kaysee Dale’s single to left field. She switched second from a SAC Bunt by Wood. Two batters later, Keatts laced the ball to left center for Dale to score and extend the lead to 6-3.
Burgess hit first batter in the seventh and then got a flyout. Mobile brought a runner on board, but a grounder for Sickau ended the game and secured Cumberlands the two-game sweep. It also gave Burgess her third save of the season.
The wins mark the first time UC have defeated a top-five team since head coach Bailey Dillender took over the team in 2018. Cumberlands is now improving to 19-2 on the season and capping his trip to Alabama with a 6-1 record wins over three ranked opponents.
UC will be back on the Diamond on Saturday, March 11th when they head to Bryan College for a doubleheader. The first game is scheduled for a first pitch at 1pm.
University of the Cumberlands (KY) University of Mobile Softball Mid-South Conference Southern States Athletic Conference Scores