CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A stellar pitching performance from Katie Watkins and Chelsea Lisikatos accompanied by solid offense allowed the Charlotte softball team to sweep La Salle in an Atlantic 10 doubleheader on Saturday.
The Niners (24-26, overall, 9-9 A10) capped off the regular season in grand fashion. Charlotte won game one 8-4 where Watkins set a new Charlotte game-high record with 18 strikeouts. In game two, the Niners recorded their fifth shutout of the season with a 7-0 victory. As a team the 49ers finished with 23 hits in the doubleheader.
The Explorers fell to 16-31 overall and 3-19 in the Atlantic 10.
Game one went down to the wire as Charlotte and La Salle entered the seventh inning tied 4-4. With bases loaded and one out, Chelsea Ingersoll belted a grand slam to lift the Niners to an 8-4 advantage. Ingersoll leads the team in homers with ten.
The Explorers were unable to mount a comeback after the 49ers’ big inning in the top of the seventh. However, La Salle sliced Charlotte’s 4-0 lead in the fifth and sixth innings with a pair of home runs. After trailing 4-1, Genevieve Gaynor hit a two-run homer in the fifth and Megan Hodgson belted a solo homer in the sixth to tie the game.
In the fourth inning Samantha Slade got things going with her second double of the game down the left field line. Freshman Jessica Plemmons hit her third career homerun, a two-run shot over the right field wall to extend the Niners’ lead.
Charlotte scored early and took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. With two outs, Briana Gwaltney and Ingersoll reached on errors which setup Slade for a double to drive in Gwaltney and Ingersoll. The Explorers answered in the bottom of the first with a solo home run from Kendra Heyer.
Slade finished with a game-high three hits, four RBIs, and two runs. Chelsea Stamey and Plemmons each finished with two hits.
Watkins’ amazing performance in the circle included just four La Salle hits. Watkins recorded her 14th win of the season.
In game two, Plemmons’ bat put Charlotte on the board with a two-run homer run in the second inning. Charlotte scored five runs in the third inning off hits from Natalie Capone, Slade, Plemmons, Kalie Lang, and Stamey to take a 7-0 advantage over La Salle.
The Explorers were unable to get on the board due to Lisikatos’ presence in the circle. Lisikatos picked up her eighth win of the season and held La Salle to five hits. She finished with a game-high seven strikeouts and recorded her second shutout of the season.
Plemmons was 3-for-4, including a homer and double. She also recorded a game-leading four RBIs. Capone finished with two hits to record her 20th multiple-hit game of the season. Slade and Lisikatos each tallied two hits.
Charlotte’s regular season included many highlights which included an offense that ranked 14th in the nation in the beginning of the season, it’s 12th 20-win season in program history, and Gwaltney setting a new career record in RBIs with 141.
The Niners who finished eighth in the Atlantic 10, will join Conference USA for the 2014 season.