ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The Charlotte 49ers softball team won its seventh and eighth consecutive conference games Saturday afternoon, defeating Saint Louis on the road, 11-5 and 3-1 in Atlantic 10 play. Game two was a 10-inning marathon, the second 10-inning victory for the Niners in the past three games. With the sweep, Charlotte improve to 24-19 overall (8-6 Atlantic 10), while the Billikins fall to 19-28 (6-8 A10).
Chelsea Stamey led the 49ers' offense with four hits in the series, going 4-for-8 with three RBIs and a run scored from her #7 spot in the lineup. The junior third baseman drove in the go-ahead runs in the top of the 10th in game two, lifting Charlotte to the extra-inning victory. In addition, rookie catcher Jackie Kleinsmith and sophomore designated player Chelsea Ingersoll picked up a trio of RBIs apiece on the day, both contributing from the bottom third of the batting order.
Trailing 1-0 in game one, Charlotte put its first two runs on the board in the third inning and did not fall behind again in the contest. A five-run top of the fifth helped the Niners blow open their lead, 7-1.
Lorena Vela and Briana Gwaltney led off the fifth frame with a pair of walks and moving into scoring position on a wild pitch. Samantha Slade was then hit to load the bases for Kalie Lang, who grounded into a fielder's choice with a force out coming at home. The next batter, Kleinsmith, notched an RBI when she was hit by a pitch to push Gwaltney across. Slade then scored on a passed ball, before Ingersoll drilled a two-run single to center field. Lindsey Holloman capped off the scoring with an infield single for a six-run Niners' lead.
Saint Louis fought back in their own half of the frame, scoring a pair of runs when Kerry Dockins belted a two-run homer to center field to pull her team within four, 7-3.
But Charlotte widened its lead further with four additional runs in the top of the sixth to take an 11-3 advantage. That inning was highlighted by another two-run single from Kleinsmith along with RBIs from Stamey and Holloman.
The Billikins replicated their previous inning with another two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth, as third baseman Kelsey Biggs homered down the left field line. That brought the final score to 11-5.
Rookie Lexi Betancourt (13-9) earned the victory, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with three strikeouts in the complete game. Her counterpart, Hannah Huebbe (10-12), allowed all 11 runs (9 earned) on eight hits through 5.1 innings. She was haunted by six walks, also picking up 5 K's.
Game two was a pitchers' duel that lasted 10 innings and saw both hurlers go the distance. Each team tallied a run in the second inning, but that was the only scoring action until the bottom of the 10th, when Charlotte took a 3-1 lead on Stamey's two-run single.
A walk to Sam Slade followed by a double by Lang put a pair of runners in scoring position in the top of the 10th to give the 49ers life. Kleinsmith drew a walk to load the bases, and the next batter, Stamey, belted a base hit that broke the 1-1 tie.
Niners' pitcher Katie Watkins was lights-out in the bottom of the frame, getting the Billikins to go down 1-2-3 on a pair of pop ups and a fly out to end the game.
Watkins (10-10) surrendered just the one run on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks in the contest. Julian Austin (4-9) allowed three runs on 11 hits with seven sit-downs and three walks.
Four 49ers picked up multiple hits, including Alex Rogers, Slade, Lang and Stamey. Four different Billikins recorded a hit for Saint Louis, including center fielder Lindsay Friedman, who went 1-for-4 and drove in her team's lone run.
Charlotte returns home for a single game matchup with the North Carolina Tar Heels this Tuesday, April 24th. First pitch is 4:30 p.m.