Eady Beth Connally posted six hits, four RBIs and three runs scored and Logan Barnes and Sydney Morris combined to allow two runs with 10 strikeouts in a pair of 7-1 University of Pikeville victories over Cumberland in softball action Friday at the CU Softball Field.
The Bears (18-16, 10-12 Mid-South) won three of the four games in the series to pull ahead of the Bulldogs (12-24, 8-14) by two games for fourth place in the Mid-South Conference standings.
Brandi Jo Howard and Sydney Beckelhymer each collected two-run doubles and Barnes pitched in-and-out of trouble in every inning in the first game. Cumberland stranded 10 runners in the loss, eight in scoring position, going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Howard’s double past a diving Vienna Benavides at second base into the gap in rightcenter pushed Pikeville’s lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning. The Bears broke open the game with four more runs in the sixth inning thanks to a pair of CU errors. Beckelhymer’s two-RBI double to rightcenter ended the inning when she was thrown out at third.
Barnes (5-5) tossed six shutout innings before running into trouble in the seventh. She allowed one run on nine hits in 6.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts. Morris got the final two outs, including a strikeout of Tessa Tomaselli to end the contest.
CU’s Leah Newsome (6-12) took the loss, giving up seven runs, two earned, on nine hits. Kassydi Montgomery, Madison Gonzalez and Giselle Delgado each registered two hits for the Bulldogs and Delgado’s double in the seventh plated the only run.
Morris (8-6) dominated the second game for the second straight day, striking out eight and giving up one run on six hits with two walks. Connally was 4-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored in the victory.
Kristen Abell (6-11) suffered the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits in three-plus innings. Vienna Benavides posted two hits for Cumberland and Montgomery’s 16th home run of the season provided the only offense for the home team.
The Bears got on the board first in the opening game after a leadoff single to center by Howard. She went to second on Kayla Brown’s sacrifice bunt. With two outs Breana Pineda squared to bunt and Howard took off for third. The throw from catch Sydney Broderick sailed into leftfield and Howard scored on the play for a 1-0 UPike edge after a half inning.
In the fifth Connally led off with a single down the rightfield line and Whitney Back was walked. After a fielder’s choice, Beckelhymer’s bunt pushed the runners to second and third. Newsome thought she struck out Howard on a 1-2 pitch, but time had been called by the base umpire, negating the pitch. Howard doubled on a 2-2 pitch, extending the Pikeville lead to 3-0.
Hayley Ill reached on an error by Benavides to start the sixth and Benavides made a bad throw to second on a ground ball by Hollie Hinkle two batters later, putting runners on the corners. Connally singled down the rightfield line, scoring one run, and a groundout moved the runners to second and third with two outs.
Logan Cline singled up the middle, plating one run, before Beckelhymer’s double into rightcenter between Gonzalez and Katelyn Nowakowski scored two more for a 7-0 UPike advantage.
Pinch-hitter Maryah Cohen walked for the Bulldogs in the seventh and Katelynn Stoll scored on Delgado’s double to rightcenter.
The Bears scored first again in the second contest, this time in the second inning when Connally singled to center with one out and took second on a wild pitch. Walks to Haley Jo Patton and Beckelhymer loaded the bases before Howard’s single through the right side plated a run for a 1-0 edge.
Breana Pineda and Hinkle both singled with one out in the third before Connally’s RBI single to right. Hinkle took third on the single and came across on Back’s groundout to second. Patton then doubled to center, plating Connally for a 4-0 advantage.
Pikeville added three more runs in the fourth, with Howard reaching on a slow roller down the first base line to leadoff. Tomaselli tried to field the ball and tag the runner at the same time, but the ball flew out of her glove and rolled into the dugout.
Kayla Brown then grounded to third, but Montgomery’s throw to first was late. Howard took third on the play and when no one was looking, Brown took off for second and got there without a throw. Ill walked, loading the bases, and after a fielder’s choice forced a runner at the plate, Brown stole home on the throw back to the pitcher.
Connally’s two-run double to rightcenter two batters later scored the final runs of the game for the Bears.
Montgomery’s towering drive to dead centerfield with one out in the third was the only offense for the Bulldogs, who got just three runners to second base in the second contest.
Cumberland plays at Martin Methodist on Monday at 4 p.m. before ending the regular season with four games at St. Catharine College next weekend.