GREENWOOD – The Lander softball team outscored it opponents 17-3 en route to a pair of victories over Emmanuel and Southern Wesleyan at the Bearcat Challenge on Friday at Doug Spears Field.
The Bearcats moved to 4-0 on the season, their best start to a season since 2003.
"We got consistent, timely hitting today," said head coach Glen Crawford. "Ferg and Lexi gave us a really good pitching outing in the first game and Bri settled in and pitched a really good game in the second game. We ran the bases well and played solid defense. I thought it was an awesome day for us."
Lander took its first lead in the third inning against Emmanuel as Casey Wooten led off the inning with an infield single and stole second base. After Wooten advanced to third on a groundout from Sydney Grimes, a fly ball to centerfield from Chandler Carey allowed Wooten to race home and put the Bearcats up 1-0.
The Bearcats struck again in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with two outs. Grimes singled home Darien Ward and Carey drew a walk to plate Jace Bennefield, extending the Lander lead to 3-0.
Emmanuel answered with a solo home run from Morgan Franklin in the fifth inning, but the Bearcats put the game away with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. After Halie Sorrow walked, Bennefield launched her first career home run over the left field wall to put Lander ahead 5-1. A two-out single from Kelli McCormack brought Grimes home and Abby Harris crossed the plate on an error to cap the scoring.
Lander's McKenzi Ferguson (2-0) picked up the win for the Bearcats, holding the Lions to one run on six hits in 6.0 innings with eight strikeouts.
Emmanuel's Taylor Saxon (0-1) took the loss after allowing seven runs on nine hits in 6.0 innings.
In the second game, Southern Wesleyan jumped in front in the top of the seventh on back-to-back solo home runs, but Lander rallied with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Carey laced a two-run double into left field and Brianna Surrento singled home Carey to put the Bearcats in front.
Lander tacked on two more in the second inning on a Grimes RBI single and another RBI double from Carey. The Bearcats made the score 6-2 in the third inning when McCormack scored from third on a errant throw.
The Bearcats ended the night with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded, Grimes came through with another RBI single before Carey cleared the bases with a three-run double to finish the night.
Surrento (2-0) got the win, allowing two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 6.0 innings.
Hunter Hoskins (0-3) was tagged with the loss after surrendering 10 runs on 11 hits in 5.0 innings.