PIKEVILLE - The Pikeville College softball team ended a five-game losing streak on Thursday when it split a doubleheader with Mountain State University. The Lady Cougars took the first game 3-2 before the Lady Bears bounced back with a 4-2 win in the nightcap at Paul Butcher Field. Following the split, Pikeville fell to 9-17.
Pikeville couldn’t take advantage of some solid pitching from senior Kelley Neace in the opener. Neace scattered 10 hits and allowed only three runs thanks to no walks in the complete-game effort.
Mountain State scored in the fourth when Lauren Howell singled and scored on a double by winning pitcher Stephanie Barrow. Pikeville tied the game in the fifth when junior centerfielder Anna Bevins blasted her second home run of the season over the fence in left-center.
Each team scored once in the sixth. MSU posted its run thanks to back-to-back doubles by Howell and Natalie Hanson to lead off the inning.
Pikeville responded with a two-out rally in the sixth. Sophomore Katie Parsley had the first of three straight singles and scored on Bevins’ safety two batters later.
MSU had one more in it, though, and got the winning run in the top of the seventh. Genesis Coll doubled to left with one out and Bre Rist followed with a single to plate the winning run.
Neace fanned four in the loss. Parsley and Bevins had two hits apiece for Pikeville. Cortney Bentley tripled while Melinda Ratliff, Krista Kouns and Heather Robbins all singled.
MSU wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard in the second game. Coll singled and scored on a Hanson single in the top of the first.
Pikeville plated two in the bottom of the frame in support of Bentley, its freshman pitcher. Ratliff reached on a single and Kouns was hit by a pitch. Ratliff scored on an error and junior Terri Mullins delivered Kouns with a single.
But the Lady Cougars answered with a run in the top of the second to tie the game. Brittany Lantz led off with a single and later scored on a two-out hit by Rist.
But after that, Bentley settled down. Having already allowed five hits, she gave up two more in the third and then only two over the last four innings.
Pikeville plated the winning runs in the fifth inning. Freshman Brittany Chapman led off with a single, was moved into scoring position on a sacrifice by Cindy Varney and scored on a double by Ratliff to give the Lady Bears a 3-2 lead.
Bentley later singled, stole second and scored on a hit by Kouns to add an insurance run.
Bentley (3-5) struck out two and walked none in the complete-game win.
Chapman led the Lady Bears with two hits, while Ratliff, Bentley, Kouns and Mullins added one.