ROCK HILL, S.C. - Playing its final set of road games of the regular season, the Charlotte 49ers softball team forced a split with Winthrop Tuesday evening at Terry Field. The Niners (27-23) suffered a tough 1-0 loss in game one before bouncing back to take the nightcap, 6-4. The Eagles, who wrapped up their home schedule, move to 16-34 on the season.
What looked to be a two-run homer by Kalie Lang in the fifth inning of game two was instead ruled a double, still allowing one run to score and giving Charlotte its first lead of the series, 3-2. In the previous inning, it was Chelsea Ingersoll's second home run of the season that erased a 2-0 Winthrop lead to tie the ball game.
Senior second baseman Lorena Vela highlighted the sixth inning with a three-run shot to left center, her second of the year, to give the 49ers a 6-2 advantage.
Winthrop didn't go down without a fight, despite trailing by four runs heading into the bottom of the seventh. Third baseman Alex White led off with a double to left, followed by Teja Durante's double down the left field line, putting two runners in scoring position with no outs.
The 49ers made a pitching change that paid off as Lisikatos came into the circle to close out the game. The rookie right hander got Kristy Noble to ground out, and third baseman Chelsea Stamey threw out a Winthrop runner at home plate on the following play. The game ended on a solid shot to first that was scooped by Lang for the final out.
Katie Watkins (12-11) earned the win in the circle, surrendering four runs on eight hits through six plus innings with six strikeouts and three walks. Lisikatos picked up her first save of the year, pitching a perfect seventh. Schoenfeldt (5-19) suffered the loss for Winthrop, tossing three innings of relief and allowing four runs on four hits with a walk and four K's.
Game one saw two impressive performances in the circle by both Lexi Betancourt and Winthrop's Natalie Becker.
After five and a half scoreless innings, it was the Eagles who finally broke through. Becker reached with a one-out single to right center to help her own cause. A double by Chapman put runners on second and third, before McKenzi Corn stepped in and hit a sacrifice fly deep to center field allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Charlotte had a good chance to take the first lead of the game in the top of the third when freshman center fielder Alex Rogers drew a lead-off walk and was sacrificed to second. With two outs, rookie shortstop Samantha Slade ripped a single to left but Corn was on it quickly and threw a laser to home plate to hold Rogers at third. The throw allowed Slade to advance to second for two Niners in scoring position. But Becker forced Kalie Lang to groundout to third to end the threat.
In the top of the seventh, Charlotte threatened again as Jackie Kleinsmith reached on an error and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stamey. Becker hit the next batter to put runners at first and second with one out. Becker forced another ground ball for the second out. Then, with runners at the corners, Rogers grounded out to end the game.
Becker (10-13) earned the win, allowing just two hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. Betancourt (14-12) was charged with the loss, surrendering just the one run on three hits with seven sit-downs.
Charlotte will play its final two games of the regular season at home Saturday in a doubleheader against Dayton. The outcome of that series will determine whether the Niners will head to Saint Louis for the 2012 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. Saturday's first pitch is scheduled for noon.