Cullowhee, N.C.- Charlotte 49ers Softball falls to Western Carolina on the road 4-3 in extra innings on Wednesday afternoon.
Natalie Capone led the way for the Niners going 3-5 from the plate and extending her consecutive game base streak to ten games. Capone picked up her eighth multi-hit game of the season. Samantha Slade went 2-3 from the plate with a RBI.
Charlotte took an early 2-0 in the top of the third inning stringing three doubles together. Natalie Capone started off the two out rally with a double into the left center gap. Samantha Slade followed Capone with a RBI double into the same gap for the opening score of the game. Jackie Kleinsmith made it a 2-0 lead with a double down the left field line scoring Slade from second.
The Catamounts (6-11) struck for three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and taking a 3-2 lead. Amelia Griffin reached on an infield bunt single down the third base line. A fielder’s choice allowed Karley Harkey to reach base. With two on and one out, Kara Salvo took the first pitch she saw over the left field fence to take the lead.
After a strikeout to start the top of the seventh inning, Hayley Lewis singled to right field to start the Niner rally. Natalie Capone pushed one through the left side of the infield to put Lewis in scoring position. Sam Slade loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. Jackie Kleinsmith tied it up with an RBI groundout to the shortstop. Jessica Plemmons laced a pitch up the middle for what looked like a base knock and would allow the Niners to take the lead but runner’s interference was called at second base ending the threat.
Charlotte (8-8) kept the Catamounts off the board in the bottom half of the seventh inning to send it to extra innings. Both teams failed to score in its half of the eighth inning.
The Catamounts strung three hits together with one out in the bottom of the ninth to bring home the winning run. A diving attempt by Slade through the right side of the infield allowed the Catamount runner to score from second for the walk-off win.
Charlotte has played two extra-inning games this season. Charlotte lost to Stony Brook over the weekend (9-7). Western Carolina has won both times its seen extras.
Lexi Betancourt (7-4) picked up the loss tossing 8.1 innings allowing four runs off 12 hits and striking out a career high nine batters. WCU’s Taylor Sigmon picked up the win and moving to 2-0 after tossing the top of the ninth and allowing one hit and a strikeout.
Charlotte keeps the road trip going heading down to Miami, Fla. for the Conference USA opener for both teams. The series against the Panthers will be Saturday-Sunday, March 8-9. The Niners will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 4 and 6pm with a single game on Sunday at 12pm.
Win number 500 has eluded head coach Aimee DeVos the past two games. DeVos will look for the elusive win on the road against FIU in the Niners’ C-USA opener.
Natalie Capone picked up her eighth multi-hit game of the season. Sam Slade picked up her sixth multi-hit game. Jackie Kleinsmith tallied two RBI in the loss, her fourth multi-RBI game. Kleinsmith also extended her hitting streak to four games.