SOFTBALL: YellowJackets split doubleheader at Austin College
SHERMAN, Texas – Kelsie Mercer-Stephenson pitched a five-inning one-hitter and Christin Mickelboro smacked two home runs as LeTourneau defeated Austin College 9-0 in game one of a doubleheader Saturday.
The Kangaroos salvaged a split of the series by winning game two of the twinbill by a score of 4-2.
Mickelboro (Longview, Texas/Longview) went 3-for-3 at the plate and batted home five of LeTourneau's runs in the opener. She also added a single and scored two runs.
Mercer-Stephenson (Baytown, Texas/Sterling) allowed only three baserunners and struck out three. She retired the first eight batters she faced and didn't allow a runner to reach second base until the fifth and final inning.
Kali Behrens (Montgomery, Texas/Montgomery) and Ashley McPhail (Katy, Texas/Faith Academy) each knocked two base hits and collected two RBIs for the YellowJackets in the opener. Behrens also homered in the game.
The Jackets wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Sara Whitehead (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) led off the inning with a single, and then was bunted over to second by Kayla Blucher (San Antonio, Texas/Reagan). Behrens then rapped a single to centerfield before Mickelboro belted her first home run of the day and give LeTourneau a 3-0 lead.
McPhail knocked home Kirsten Warner (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) later in the inning to give the YellowJackets a 4-0 lead heading to the bottom of the first.
With a 5-0 lead after three innings, Behrens put two more runs on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth with a home run to left field that scored herself and Whitehead. A pitching change by Austin College failed to stop the LeTourneau bats, as Mickelboro (pictured) followed with her second home run of the game.
McPhail gave the Jackets their ninth run with an RBI double to score Alex Flanagan (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches). With the run rule in effect, Austin College finally tagged Mercer-Stephenson for a hit in the bottom of the inning, but ultimately could not keep her from picking up her second win in two starts.
Mercer-Stephenson has an ERA of 0.58 in 12 innings over two starts. Amber Pemberton took the loss for the Kangaroos in the opener.
Behrens gave LeTourneau the upper-hand in game two with a sacrifice fly to score Whitehead, who led off the game with a double. After an equalizer by Austin College in the bottom of the first, the Jackets went ahead 2-1 when McPhail knocked a sac fly that allowed Kirsten Warner to score.
The Kangaroos took their first lead of the day in the fourth inning. With runners on second and third, Cierra Weighat reached base on an infield error, which allowed Austin College to tie the game. Two batters later, Suzanne Beltran drew a bases-loaded walk from game two pitcher Flanagan to give the Roos a 3-2 lead.
Trailing 4-2, the YellowJackets put runners on base in the sixth and seventh innings but were unable to push any more runs across the plate. The Kangaroos snuffed a rally with two runners on base in the seventh.
Flanagan (1-1) gave up two earned runs over four innings for the Jackets in game two. Samantha Matulis picked up the victory for Austin College.
The YellowJackets play their first games in Longview next weekend when they host Austin College and Hardin-Simmons in a three-team event at Lear Park, located near Loop 281 and H.G. Mosley Parkway. First pitch Friday against the Kangaroos is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be the first of four LeTourneau games over Friday and Saturday.