Belmont, N.C. - Chelsi Mallory stroked the Tornados first home run of the season and added a trio of doubles as Brevard split a doubleheader on the road Saturday afternoon against Belmont Abbey, winning the first game 5-3, while falling in game two, 6-3.
The Tornados move to 11-7 for the season while the Crusaders move to 6-20 with the split.
Game 1: Brevard 5, Belmont Abbey 3
Mallory went 3-4 with a pair of doubles and a home run as the Tornados scored used a two-run top of the fifth to take game one from Belmont Abbey. Jennifer Gift (6-4) went the distance on the mound for Brevard, allowing four hits while striking out four. Carrie Markham took the loss for the Abbey, allowing eight hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings.
The Tornados got on the board first, as Kristina Clayton scored on Jennifer Brown’s groundout to short in the opening frame to give Brevard the early 1-0 lead.
After a one-two-three bottom of the first by Gift where she struck out Gina Antonucci and Dani Beres, the Tornados added another run in the top of the second as Becca Curlee drove in Maddie Fletcher with a one-out single to double the Tornados lead.
Belmont Abbey came back in the bottom of the third as Beres lifted a two-out pitch from Gift over the wall in the outfield for a home run, scoring Katie Childers from first base as the Crusaders tied the game up at 2 after three innings.
Brevard added two runs in the top of the fifth. Sarah Carlos led off the inning with a single. A sacrifice bunt by Curlee moved Carlos to second. She moved to third on Clayton’s bunt single and scored on Mallory’s second double of the game. Jennifer Brown drove in her second run of the game as she hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Clayton to put Brevard back up 4-2.
Tara Ruebel cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth as the first baseman led off the inning with a solo shot. Gift retired the next three batters in order to keep the lead at one.
Mallory responded with a blast of her own in the top of the seventh off Belmont Abbey relief pitcher Danielle Puckett, putting out her first collegiate home run to give the Tornados an insurance run as Brevard went back up by two with one to play.
The first two runners reached base for Belmont Abbey in the seventh Puckett reached on a walk and Childers placed a bunt single down. However, Puckett was thrown out at third on a fielder’s choice and Maddie Fletcher caught Katie Hobbs fly ball to left, throwing to second to double up Childers to end the game.
Game 2: Belmont Abbey 6, Brevard 3
Two run innings in both the bottom of the fifth and the bottom of the sixth gave the Crusaders the victory in game two. Liz Houser (5-3) dropped her second straight decision, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, striking out one. Kayla Short picked up the win for Belmont Abbey, going 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven, while Puckett came in to pick up the save, going 1 1/3 innings without giving up a hit.
Brevard struck first in game two, scoring two in the top of the first. Curlee led off the game reaching on an error by Short. After Clayton went down on strikes, Mallory came to the plate and smacked her third double of the day, scoring Curlee. Mallory moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Jennifer Brown’s grounder to second to give Brevard the 2-0 lead.
Belmont Abbey came back in the bottom of the second as Puckett laced a one-out double to the outfield, scoring Carrie Markham and Alysia Stewart to tie the game.
The teams proceeded to strand a runner on base per inning in the third and the fourth before the Crusaders added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. A one-out walk put Ruebel on first base. She moved over to second on Short’s single and scored on Stewart’s base hit. A single by Markham chased Houser from the game as Belmont Abbey loaded the bases. Gift came in for the Tornados and retired Puckett on a fly ball to left field. Michelle Primm was able to coax out a two-out walk to bring home Short to give the Abbey a 4-2 lead. Gift limited the damage though by retiring Antonucci on a grounder to short to end the inning.
Brevard added a run in the top of the sixth. Thornburg opened the inning with a single. A sacrifice bunt by Beth Brooker and a single by Fletcher moved Thornburg to third, where she scored on Kasey Fagan’s groundout. A walk issued to Carlos led to a pitching change by Belmont Abbey as Puckett came in to pitch with two runners on base, but Curlee went down on strikes to end the inning before the Tornados could tie the game up.
The Crusaders added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth as singles by Short and Stewart drove in Hobbs and Beres as Belmont Abbey held on to win game two.
The Tornados next game is at home on Sunday, March 22nd as Brevard hosts Mountain State University. The Tornados and the Lady Cougars will take the field at 1 p.m.