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 March 15, 2014

LYNCHBURG - The Cleveland State softball team packed their hitting shoes and their big bats on Friday afternoon as they hit the road for Middle Tennessee and a four-game Region VII Conference weekend series with Motlow State.

The Lady Cougars pounded the Lady Bucks into submission as they scored 19 runs and had 22 hits including three long balls, sweeping both ends of the doubleheader, 10-1 in game one and 9-7 in game two.

"The girls came out strong from the beginning of the game and never let up," stated Lady Cougar coach Katie Willingham. "They were loose and having fun in preparation for the game and it paid off. Motlow, like most teams in our conference, have a lot of fight in them and we knew we had to play well the entire game to win and we did."

Game one started with a bang as Cleveland State jumped on top in a grand way in the top of the second inning. Two Lady buck miscues and a fielders choice loaded the bases with Lady Cougars. Emily Huston then unloaded them with one swing of her big bat for a grand slam home run and a 4-0 lead.

Leslie Nunnelly tacked on two more runs for Cleveland State an inning later with a two-run double and then it was Nunnelly once again in the seventh, this time providing a few insurance runs with a three-run homer to put a cap on game one.

The Lady Bucks avoided the shutout with a run in the third as Chelsea Buffington singled in their only run of the game.

Ida Watson was equally impressive in the circle for the Lady Cougars (7-17, 4-10) as she tossed seven strong inning to get the win allowing no earned runs and only three hits along the way. Mindy Jo Britt took the loss for Motlow State.

The Lady Cougars wasted no time in jumping on top in game two with three runs in their first at-bat. Sara O'Rear singled and stole second to start the uprising and later scored on an error as Jennifer Kern picked up the RBI. Tori Roberts then plated two runs with a single to right field for a 3-0 lead.

Makayla Campbell doubled in a run for the Lady Bucks in the bottom of the first, but the visitors got that run back plus one in their half of the third. Hannah Powell and Nunnelly singled in a run each to push the lead to 5-1.

The Lady Cougars added four more runs in the top of the fourth as Powell pushed a run across, Ashley Swaney singled in another and Roberts followed by dialing long distance with a shot well beyond the left field fence to finish the four-run outburst.

The Lady Bucks didn't give up just yet as they added a run in the third and two more in the fourth on a double by Heather Tapp and a pair of groundouts to slice the lead to 9-4.

Down to their last three outs and trailing by five runs, the home team made one last surge to make things interesting. Bridgette Wilson doubled in two runs and Chelsea Howell lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield to cut the lead to 9-7, but the rally would end there as the Lady Cougars were able to record the last out to take game two and a sweep of the days events.

"We are very proud of how well the girls played today," said Willingham. "Our bats were hot and they never let up. We need to make sure that we do that and have the same fight in us every time out."

Allison Conley tossed the first four innings for the Lady Cougars to get the win while Kelsey Haley pitched the last three in relief. Lindsey Knoer took the loss for Motlow State.

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