Bowling Green, Ky. -- The Patriot softball team opened up postseason play today in the Mid-South Conference Softball Tournament at Michael O. Buchanon Park in Bowling Green Ky.
The Patriots (25-29) opened play in the MSC Tournament with a 6-4 victory over Pikeville (Ky.). St. Catharine then was forced to play top-seeded Campbellsville (Ky.) where they lost 8-0 to go 1-1 on the opening day of the tournament.
The Patriots will now face elimination in the second round of the consolation bracket when they take on Cumberlands (Ky.) at 3 p.m. ET.
Game 1: St. Catharine 6, Pikeville 4
Trailing 2-1 heading into the final inning, the Patriots scored five runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-2 lead. Pikeville (23-29) made things interesting with two runs in the bottom half of the seventh, but the Patriots were able to get the 6-4 win.
Senior Brittany McKee (Somerset, Ky.) picked up the win in a relief effort. McKee (4-2) entered the game in the fifth and tossed the final 2.2 innings allowing two runs – one earned – on four hits.
The Bears got on the board first with a run in the second inning off St. Catharine starter Tiffany Wickline (Georgetown, Ky.). Wickline pitched 4.1 innings allowing two runs on three hits.
The 1-0 lead for Pikeville would last until the fourth inning, when the Patriots tied it up in the fourth. Wickline reached on a fielder’s choice and the next batter, McKee ripped a triple to score Wickline all the way from first and tie the game at 1-1.
Pikeville regained the lead with a run in the fifth inning, but the Patriots scored five times in the seventh inning to take a 6-2 lead. Caitlyn Blair (LaGrange, Ky.) led off the inning with a single and Katie Hansgen (Fern Creek, Ky.) was called upon to pinch run.
After a sac bunt, Kelsey Gravens (Mt. Washington, Ky.) delivered the big hit when she blasted a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence for a two-run home run to give her team the 3-2 lead. The Patriots weren’t done their as they continued to add to their lead.
Tiffany Wickline added an RBI single to score Emily Fenwick (Lebanon, Ky.), while Brittany McKee delivered a two-run single to score Miranda Whelan (Ramsey, Ind.) and Carly Benz (Brooks, Ky.) and cap off the five run seventh.
Pikeville made one last run at the Patriot lead in the bottom of the seventh when they scored two runs, but McKee coaxed the batter into a 1-2-3 double play to end the game and seal the 6-4 win.
Game 2: St. Catharine 0, Campbellsville 8
After defeating Pikeville 6-4 in the opening round, the Patriots had to take on the top seed No. 4 team in the nation Campbellsville. The Tigers (46-8) scored seven runs in the second inning and added a run in the sixth to come away with the 8-0 in six innings.
Jennifer Ortega (Delano, Calif.) started the game and was dealt with the loss for the Patriots. Ortega (6-13) lasted 1.1 innings and allowed seven runs on three hits. Brittany McKee also tossed 4.1 innings allowing one unearned run on four hits.
St. Catharine didn’t record their first hit until the fifth inning when McKee and Caitlyn Blair hit back-to-back singles, but Campbellsville starter, Victoria Decker worked her way out of the jam.
Decker – who no-hit the Patriots earlier this season – pitched six innings allowing just three hits with a pair of strikeouts. Decker allowed her final hit to Lynsie Clark (Morgantown, Ky.) in the sixth inning as Campbellsville won it 8-0 in six innings.