The Braves entered the two game series against Wingate on Feb. 21 without much of an offensive threat. Scoring six runs in their past three games, they have relied heavily on pitching to be able to keep games within arms length.
The bats needed to wake up if they were going to have a realistic shot to make a run in the Peach Belt Conference.The Black and Gold answered the call in the first game when they finally got the offense going in an 11-6 win against the Wingate Bulldogs, and then finished off the series with a dub (3-2) to bring their win streak up to three for the second time this season.
More than 200 people were in the stands at the Wingate Softball Complex. The games in the doubleheader were being broadcast on ESPN3 and the Braves were coming into the game riding the hot hand. In their first game at 1 p.m., pitching wasn’t as well executed as it had been in the previous few games.
Starter Malerie Leviner gave up six runs through six innings of work. However, the offense picked her up, exploding for 11 runs and knocking Wingate’s starter out of the game after only 1.1 innings pitched. Cara Davis did a little bit of everything in this one.
She led the offensive charge for the Braves, showcasing her power with two home runs. Davis was tied for the team lead in RBIs with three, along with her teammate Alex Watkins. Davis also scored four runs and got hit by a pitch.
The two through six hitters combined to go 7-18 at the plate with nine RBIs. Freshman sensation Breezy Yelton came into the game in the seventh and set down the Bulldogs in order to finish off the win for Malerie Leviner.
The bats stayed hot in the second game of the doubleheader. The Braves muscled out 10 hits and scored three more runs to sweep the Bulldogs with a win of 3-2.
While those hits didn’t transition into any runs for the Black and Gold through the first six innings, as the score was 1-0 heading into the seventh, that would change in the final inning. Davis continued her power surge and hit yet another home run in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 1-1.
Senior leader Toni Nelson gave UNCP a 2-1 lead in the same inning with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Jamie Johnson.
The Braves and Bulldogs would each add one more run and UNCP held onto the 3-2 win.