College Softball Finals -Guilford 2-4, Eastern Mennonite 16-3

GREENSB ORO, N.C. – Makayla Carver’s seventh-inning single through the left side of a drawn-in infield scored Laura Hall from third and gave Guilford College a 4-3 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) softball win over Eastern Mennonite University Sunday. The victory salvaged a split of the doubleheader after the visiting Royals (18-8, 5-3 ODAC) pounded out a 16-2 opening-game victory in six innings.

In the nightcap, Guilford (20-8, 5-5 ODAC) answered the Royals’ two first-inning runs with three of their own in the home half of the inning. Carver, who had a career-high four hits, knocked in two runs and Caroline Barnette added an RBI double in the inning.

Guilford chased Royals’ starter Jenna Williams in the opening inning. Her replacement, Sydney Reath (7-6), and Quakers’ starter Courtney Lackey (8-2) waged a pitching duel for the rest of the game. Lackey retired 15 of the last 18 batters she faced, but allowed a Carli Hill solo home run that tied the game in the fifth inning. Reath shut down the Quakers until the fateful final frame.

Eastern Mennonite pinch-hitter Lauren Seale worked a one-out, second-inning walk, but was erased a batter later when Jasmine Johnson lined out to Calli Pastor in right field. Pastor fired to first to double up Seale and end the inning.

Pinch-hitter Jordan Starke led off the home seventh with a hard-hit single down the left-field line and was replaced by Lauren Hall, who reentered for Starke. Barnette followed with a single to left-center that put runners on first and second with no out. The runners advanced on a deep fly ball to center field by Brooks Bray, which set the table for Carver’s heroics.

Carver finished with four hits and three runs batted in, both career highs. Barnette added a season-best three hits, including a double. Lackey fanned four in a complete-game five hitter.

Hill and Reath both homered and had three RBI in the Royals’ 16-2 opening game win. Eastern Mennonite broke open a 4-2 game with a five-run fifth inning followed by a seven-run sixth inning. Danyele Smith hit a two-run double in the fifth and scored on the following play when Reath blasted a three-run home run. Smith, who scored four times, also had three RBI. Angelia Miller was two-for-three with two RBI. Seale (5-2) benefitted from the offensive explosion and fanned five in a six-inning complete game.

Shelby Helms had two hits and Makayla Crawford delivered a solo home run for Guilford in game one. Casey Snead (2-3) was touched for eight earned runs in 4.1 innings. Rebekah Langston followed in the circle and yielded four hits, three walks and four earned runs.

Coach Dennis Shores’ team, which reached the 20-win plateau for the third straight season, hosts Greensboro College Wednesday (4/6) in a nonleague doubleheader rescheduled from February.