Alyssa Morris singled off a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning, driving home Kristen Rose with the game-winning run and the Concord University Mountain Lions beat the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals 4-3 to gain a split in doubleheader action, Thursday evening on the CU campus.
The hit was Morris’ third of the game in four at-bats. She also homered and singled. The win snapped a three-game Concord losing skid.
Concord coach Alisa Tasler said, “They did a fantastic job coming off the loss the first game. They really hung in there and played really tough. This is a team that really knows how to win.”
Pitching was the name of the game in the nightcap. Concord’s Sarah Herndon retired the first five batters she faced before walking Marla Small who scored on the Cardinals’ first hit, a double by Skylar Berger in the bottom of the second.
Conversely, WJU’s Ali Smith sat down the Lady Lions 1-2-3 in the first. Morris opened the bottom of the second, driving a 0-1 pitch over the fence just inside the left field foul pole to knot the game at one.
Following the second-inning hit by Berger, Herndon then retired the next nine batters before Rachel Conrad reached on an error and the pitcher Smith homered to left to help her own cause and give the Lady Cardinals a 3-1 advantage.
Concord rallied in the sixth. Jessica Seymour led off the inning and reached on a two-base error and touched home on Lauren Lewis’ hit to right. Lewis later scored on Morris’ single to left to pull the Lady Lions even at three.
Wheeling Jesuit got the go-ahead run to second with no outs in the top of the seventh but failed to push it across. Concord, in the bottom of the seventh, got the winning run to second with one out, but newly entered pitcher Allison Litz picked up a K to send the game to extra innings.
Pinch hitter Caity Ferrell got a one-out bloop single to right and Lorian Tharp laid down a sac bunt to mover her to second, but Herndon got out of the inning with a ground out.
In the bottom of the eighth Rose got a one-out single to right and stole second. The throw to nab her sailed into center field and she advanced to third. Allie Reed followed with a single to right but Rose held at third. Enter Morris who singled up the middle to get her third hit and RBI of the game, scoring Rose and giving Concord the win.
Herndon pitched the complete game victory for the Lady Lions. She worked eight innings, allowed three runs, only one earned, on six hits. She struck out five and walked only one batter.
Litz took the loss for Wheeling Jesuit. She worked the final two innings, gave up one run on three hits, walked one and struck out one.
In addition to Morris’ three hits, Rose had a pair of safeties for Concord.
•Game one was as exciting as the nightcap.
WJU’s leadoff batter, Jarah Ice singled, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and raced home on Tharp’s sacrifice fly to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
That advantage held until the bottom of the third when Allison Reid, CU’s starting pitcher, reached on a two-base error and Lewis followed with a home run off a 3-2 pitch to right field.
The Cardinals tied the game in the fourth on a solo home run to left by Rachel Conrad. The Lady Lions added a run in their part of the fourth to retake the lead. Courtney Purtell singled to center with two away and scored on Kristi Benvenuto’s double to right center. Benvenuto was thrown out at third trying to stretch the hit to a triple.
Wheeling Jesuit came out swinging in the fifth. Tharp and Angie Reddick both singled and Eric Jusko executed a sacrifice bunt that moved each runner ahead 60 feet. Small then homered to left to put her team ahead 5-3.
CU did not quit. Rose doubled in the firth and scored on Lewis’ single to make it 5-4. Jesuit turned to Smith in the sixth – the game two starter – and she retired the side in order in the sixth. In the seventh Morris singled and moved to second with one out, but she was stranded and WJU picked up the win.
Wheeling Jesuit coach Kelli Williams talked about her team’s win in game one.
“Overall we talk about the three aspects of the game and making sure they come together, the pitching, the defense and the hitting. When we have all three of them working at once, to me we are a very difficult team to beat,” Williams said.
“Our pitchers threw well that first game. Lately we’ve been struggling with leaving runners and today they just saw the ball well and they were making contact. For gosh sakes, I don’t know if they ate Wheaties this morning or what, but they got the job done.”
Concord’s Lewis was 3-for-3 and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
“They out-hit us and those days happen when the ball falls for them and not for us,” Tasler said. “If we can eliminate some of those days it would be a little bit better for us.”
Jusko picked up the win and Smith the save while Reid took the loss for Concord.
Concord is now 25-17 on the season. Tasler talked about the squad’s performance to date.
“This is a team, they have the ability and potential to beat anybody. They just have to believe in themselves and not worry about injuries that might have happened earlier in the year.”
The injury to which Tasler refers is that of Lacey McDougall. McDougall at the time of her injury was leading the team in batting and had the top ERA of the CU pitchers.
The Lady Lions host West Liberty this afternoon in doubleheader action. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m.
Wheeling Jesuit……100 130 0 — 5 14 1
Concord…………….002 110 0 — 4 9 0
Jusko, Smith (6) and Ice; Reid and DiVirgilio W-Jusko, L-Reid, S-Smith HR: WJU-Conrad, Small; CU-Lewis
Wheeling Jesuit……….010 020 00 — 3 6 2
Concord……………..010 002 01 — 4 8 1
Smith, Litz (7) and Ice; Herndon and Morris. W-Herndon, L-Litz HR: WJU-Smith; CU-Morris