|Charlotte Dominates Marshall in Doubleheader|
CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Behind dominant pitching by Lexi Betancourt, the Niners took the first two games of the series from Marshall, 2-1(9) and 9-0(5) on Saturday afternoon. Charlotte improves to 20-25 on the season with a 10-12 clip in league play. With the doubleheader loss, Marshall drops to 22-30 on the season with a 9-11 mark in conference play.
Charlotte hitters picked up 18 hits in the doubleheader scoring 11 runs. Jessica Plemmons (Lexington, N.C./ North Davidson HS) led the Niners at the plate going 4-7 with two RBI. Samantha Slade (Apex, N.C./ Apex HS) picked up three hits and two RBI. Chelsea Lisikatos (Cold Spring, N.Y./ Haldene HS) picked up three RBI in game two with a three-run home run.
It took the Niners ninth inning to get the 2-1 win. Jackie Kleinsmith (Santa Maria, Calif./ Righetti HS) singled up the middle scoring the walk-off victory in game one.
Charlotte scratched across the series' first run in the bottom of the third inning of game one. Courtney Carroll (Clemmons, N.C./ West Forsyth HS) walked to lead off the inning. Natalie Capone (St. Charles, Ill./ St. Charles North) sent Carroll to second on a ground out. Jes Plemmons delivered an RBI single to centerfield scoring Carroll from second for the first run of the ball game.
Marshall tied things up with one swing of the bat in the top of the fifth inning off of a Raquel Escareno solo shot.
Charlotte had plenty of chances to take the lead throughout the game but stranded a total of 14 runners on the bases and sending the game into extra innings.
Sam Slade led off the ninth inning with a double down the third base line. Marshall intentionally walked Jes Plemmons to get to Charlotte's leading hitter Kleinsmith. Kleinsmith calmly sent a 1-2 pitch up the middle to score Slade from second for the winning run and walk-off victory.
The night cap was a different story for the Niners posting nine runs off nine hits in a 9-0 run-rule affair.
Sam Slade picked up a team leading 11th double on the season to open up the top of the first inning. A Kleinsmith single put runner on the corners with two outs. Chelsea Lisikatos took the first pitch she saw over the left field fence for her fifth home run of the season and gave the Niners an early 3-0 lead.
Charlotte didn't stop the attack there. The Niners posted three more runs for a comfortable 6-0 lead in the bottom half of the second inning. Hayley Lewis (Concord, N.C./ Jay M. Robinson HS) started the rally with a full count walk. Lewis went around to third on an error and a passed ball. Sam Slade pushed home Lewis and Capone on a two RBI single to left. Jes Plemmons followed suit with a RBI single of her own down the first base line.
The Niners put the game well out of reach in the bottom half of the third inning plating three more runs. Chelsea Ingersoll (Charlotte, N.C./ Butler HS) reached on a fielder's choice. Courtney Carroll singled to third and moved up 60 feet on a wild pitch. With runners in scoring position, Lewis singled into the right center gap scoring Ingersoll and Carroll. Capone posted the final run for the Niners after a RBI double to left center with Lewis going around to score.
Lexi Betancourt picked up wins 18 and 19 on the season earning both wins in the doubleheader. Betancourt tossed a career-high nine innings in game one allowing one run off five hits and tying a career-high 10 punch outs. The righty picked up a five inning shutout, her seventh of the season, allowing two hits and striking out five.
Charlotte will look for the series sweep against Marshall on Sunday with first pitch at 12pm. The Niners are 5-2 in C-USA finales this season and 6-2 on Sundays in conference play.
Lexi Betancourt penciled her name into the record books surpassing current 49ers pitching coach Katy Hackett for wins in a single season. Betancourt's 19 wins on the season is tied for sixth all-time in a single season. Betancourt's 15 strikeouts on the day upped her total to 185 which is good for fourth all-time in a single season.