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LWC softball sweeps Cumberland

By Kyrin Mayfield

Overpowering, unstoppable and dominant. All three words sum up Annabelle Ramirez's performance in the circle as the Lindsey Wilson senior tossed her second career no-hitter in game one's 3-0 win against Cumberland (Tenn.) on Tuesday at Marilyn D. Sparks Park.

In game two, Elizabeth Funk's game-ending grand slam gave the Blue Raiders (24-0, 18-0 Mid-South Conference) a 13-5 victory due to the mercy rule as Lindsey Wilson swept the Phoenix (5-9, 3-7 MSC).



Game 1: Lindsey Wilson - 3 | Cumberland - 0
Ramirez set the tone with two strikeouts to begin the game. Madison Woodruff was the only Cumberland batter to reach base for the entire contest after getting hit by a pitch with two outs. In the next inning, Ramirez struck out the side.

The Blue Raiders' offense was kept to just one hit through the first two frames but broke through in the third with a walk and three straight hits. Jordan Balz received her second start of the season and made the most of it. The freshman started the inning with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch.

A single from Carissa Summers brought Balz home for the first run. Base hits by Mikayla Marquez and Lexi Isable allowed Summers to score for a 2-0 lead. That's all Lindsey Wilson would need for the win.

Ramirez fanned two batters in each of the following three innings. At the end of the fifth, she racked up 11 strikeouts, and the possibility of a no-hitter emerged.

An insurance run was added for the Blue Raiders in the bottom of the sixth with a walk issued to Alexus Garza to begin the frame. Sam Sims pinch-ran and stole second almost immediately. A sacrifice bunt pushed her to third to give Lyric Houston the opportunity to hit a sacrifice fly to plate Sims for a 3-0 advantage.

That lead held up until the end, as Ramirez struck out each of the final six batters she faced over the final two innings. The senior finished with 16 strikeouts, which tied her career-high for the third time this season.

Brianna Griffiths, Isable, Marquez, and Summers each recorded one hit for Lindsey Wilson. Summers was the only Blue Raider with a run and an RBI.

Game 2 (five innings): Lindsey Wilson - 13 | Cumberland - 5
The doubleheader transitioned from a pitchers' duel in the first game to a slugfest in game two.

Once again, Lindsey Wilson struck first. Marquez led-off with a base hit in the bottom of the first. A stolen base had her in scoring position for an RBI single by Garza to put the Blue Raiders ahead 1-0.

The Phoenix found some life in the bats as Cumberland took its first lead of the series in the second inning. Kenzie France received a one-out walk to set up Ashton Whiles for the two-run home run, and the first hit of the doubleheader for the Phoenix. For the first time in nine games, Lindsey Wilson found itself behind.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Blue Raiders tied the game when Desiree Chang beat out a tag at home on a groundball from Makea-Al Kaluau. Lindsey Wilson then doubled its run total in the third. A wild pitch brought Houston home and Summers came in as well from a single by Sims to go up 4-2.

However, Cumberland pounded the ball in the top of the fourth. Four hits, including a two-run home run by Mariah Clark, began the inning as the Blue Raiders saw the lead evaporate in minutes. Not only was the lead gone, but Lindsey Wilson eventually fell behind 5-4 after DeeDee Dunn smacked an RBI double to left-center.

After failing to record one hit in the first game, the Phoenix already possessed six in game two, half of which were for extra bases. Meanwhile, the Blue Raiders only hit singles up until that point.

Ramirez was sent back into the circle to try and tame Cumberland's offense, which she did by fanning three batters over the next 1.1 innings.

Sensing urgency, Lindsey Wilson came out swinging in the bottom of the fourth. A single by Isable and back-to-back home runs by Kaluau and Garza had the Blue Raiders back in front 7-5.

An explosive sixth inning ensued that saw the first five Lindsey Wilson batters get on base. Kaluau recorded another two-RBI hit, this time a double, for a 9-5 Blue Raider advantage. A walk to Garza loaded the bases for the pinch hitter Elizabeth Funk. After four pitches, Funk loaded up and sent a ball high into the sky and over the center-field fence for a grand slam. The home run was the first of her career and ended the game 13-5 due to the mercy rule.

Ramirez (14-0) earned another win for her 1.1 innings of relief.

Kaluau finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and five RBIs. Her home run in the was her 35th with the Blue Raiders and moved her into a tie for fifth on the program's all-time home runs list.

Garza went 2-for-3 in the batter's box and notched two runs and two RBIs. Sims reached base in all three at-bats with three hits, and Funk posted one run and four RBIs from her home run.

Lindsey Wilson and Cumberland will finish the series on Monday, March 29, with a doubleheader at 3 p.m. CT.

The Blue Raiders are right back at Marilyn D. Sparks Park for two games on Wednesday against No. 22 Indiana University Southeast at 3 p.m. CT.


This story was posted on 2021-03-24 06:07:18
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