ST. CATHARINE – The University of Pikeville softball team scored 14 runs in one inning of game one and held a 5-2 lead nearly halfway through the nightcap, but ultimately couldn’t slow down the St. Catharine College offense in a pair of 16-15 and 9-8 losses on the road to start Mid-South Conference play on Friday.
After a few weather-related cancelations, the conference doubleheader was also the season opener for the Bears (0-2, 0-2 MSC) which wasted no time playing a pair of interesting games. With the two wins, St. Catharine improved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Third baseman Hollie Hinkle had a big day for UPIKE, tallying six hits including a 3-for-3 showing in game two. Hinkle finished with two RBIs, a walk and a run scored. Second baseman Emily Castle and first baseman Sarah Kinney hit the first two home runs of the season with solo shots in the high-scoring opener.
Kinney and shortstop Taylor Weeks both drove in three runs in game one as Weeks went 2-for-5 at the plate while scoring two runs herself. Catcher Eady Beth Connally had a well-rounded day with six hits, three walks, four runs and a double.
St. Catharine led just 2-0 heading into the fourth inning of game one before things exploded offensively. Pikeville got on the board with a sacrifice fly from Courtney Morgan before the Patriots collected five runs in their half of the inning to take a 7-1 lead.
The six-run deficit didn’t faze the Bears however as they exploded for 14 runs in the fifth inning. It was the most offense since also scoring 14 against Alice Lloyd last March.
Kinney got the inning started with a home run and after that Pikeville tallied seven singles, four walks, a double, had a batter hit by a pitch and reached first safely on a fielder’s choice before St. Catharine could register an out. Already up 12-7, Castle added even more pain to the inning with a two-out three-run homer to center field to make it a 15-7 lead for the Bears.
The explosion may have wiped out whatever offense UPIKE could muster as it failed to score again in the next two innings. Instead, the Patriots scored twice in the bottom of the fifth and added five more runs in the sixth to get within one at 15-14.
UPIKE went three up and three down in the top of the seventh, allowing second baseman Taylor McKee’s leadoff home run to tie the game and send it to extra innings. It took just one extra frame for St. Catharine to complete the comeback as shortstop Davelynn Day hit a bases-loaded single to bring the game to a close.
Sydney Morris lasted five innings in the circle for the Bears, allowing nine runs on 14 hits with three strikeouts before handing the game over to Courtney Morgan with a 15-9 lead. In 2-1/3 innings, Morgan (0-1) allowed seven runs on six hits with four walks to take the loss.
Even though UPIKE outhit St. Catharine 13-11 in game two, it failed to produce an extra-base hit and the Patriots registered a home run and three doubles to make up for it.
Trailing 2-0 in the third inning, the Bears put up five runs on six singles, but the lead was short lived as the Patriots tied it up at 5-5 in their half of the fourth.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the fifth inning with UPIKE adding two runs on Connally’s single into right field. Trailing 7-5, St. Catharine kept up with the script of the game by scoring four run in the sixth inning on a pair of doubles and a passed ball.
Trailing 9-7 in the final frame, all the Bears could come up with was a single run on a two-out error before Kinney grounded out to second to end the rally. Lauren Barnes (0-1) threw all six innings for the Bears, allowing nine runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts.