Johnson City, Tenn. - The Tornados softball team hit the road for their first action since coming back from Spring Break, taking to the road against Milligan College on Thursday afternoon. Brevard struggled at the plate, managing only four hits in the two games in falling 3-1 and 3-0.
The Tornados fall to 10-6 for the 2009 season, while the Buffaloes improve to 13-7.
Game 1: Milligan 3, Brevard 1
Jennifer Gift (5-4) went the distance for the Tornados in game one, giving up five hits while striking out five. Her opponent, Rachel Ingleby, also went the distance, allowing four hits while retiring four on strikes, with one earned run.
Milligan opened the scoring in game one in the bottom of the first as Jessica Fix led off the inning with a double to left field. After Gift retired Mallory Tincher on strikes, Leah White put a triple into centerfield, scoring Fix as Milligan took the early 1-0 lead.
Brevard loaded the bases in the top of the second as Katie Brown opened the inning with a single to left. Katie Thornburg attempted a sacrifice bunt and ended up reaching base as the Buffaloes misplayed the ball. A successful bunt single by Beth Brooker loaded the bases, but the Tornados were unable to capitalize as the next three batters were retired before Brevard could plate a run.
However, the Tornados were able to tie the game up in the top of the third as Kristina Clayton led off by driving a single through the right side of the infield. A sacrifice bunt by Chelsi Mallory moved Clayton over to second. Katie Brown drove Clayton home with a two-out single through the left side as Brevard evened the score at 1.
Milligan responded in the bottom half of the inning. White reached on a one-out single and stole second base. Cleanup hitter Jessica Blevins drove her home as she drove a ball over the fence in right centerfield to put the Buffaloes up 3-1 with four to play.
Both pitchers settled down and kept the offenses in check the rest of the way as Brevard’s Gift only allowed two runners to reach base for Milligan, while Ingleby allowed three Tornados to get on base.
Katie Brown led the Tornados in game one, going 2-3 with an RBI while White was the catalyst on the offense for the Buffalos, also going 2-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Game 2: Milligan 3, Brevard 0
The nightcap of the doubleheader started up where game one left off as the pitchers combined to retire the first 15 batters before Milligan’s Megan Heaton led off the bottom of the third with a walk. Liz Houser (5-2) dropped only her second decision of the 2009 season, going five innings, allowing one run, while striking out five. Her counterpart, Sidney Burns also threw a complete game, striking out 10 in recording the win.
Milligan opened up the scoring in the bottom of the fourth as Blevins was driven in by Tincher’s two-out double to put the Buffaloes up 1-0.
Milligan added two more in the bottom of the sixth as Heaton’s one-out double off Tornados relief pitcher Gift to straightaway center scored Blevins and Tincher to increase the lead to 3-0.
Burns, in the mean time, retired 21 of the 22 batters she faced on her way to a no-hitter with the only blemish coming in the top of the sixth when Maddie Fletcher reached base on an error by the centerfielder.
The Tornados take a day off before taking to the road again on Saturday, March 21st, as they head to Belmont, N.C. for a doubleheader against Belmont Abbey. Brevard swept the Crusaders the first time around back on March 5th, 3-2 and 11-1.