Lynchburg, Va. -- University of Lynchburg's softball team stayed unbeaten in 2019, winning a pair of pitchers' duels, 1-0 and 2-1, in a doubleheader sweep of Salem Tuesday afternoon.
Senior right-hander Taylor Belknap (Arden, N.C.) turned in a dazzling two-hit shutout in the opener, striking out 10 and walking one to earn the complete-game win.
Pitching stayed strong on the back end of the doubleheader as junior right-hander Alex Cisar (Sykesville, Md.) earned the win with 6 ⅓ innings of one-run ball and sophomore right-hander Kayley Cox (Yorktown, Va.) nailed down the save with two outs in two pitches.
Lynchburg extended its regular-season win streak to 13 with the sweep.
Game 1 Final: Lynchburg 1, Salem 0
Game 2 Final: Lynchburg 2, Salem 1
Records: Lynchburg 6-0, Salem 3-4
Venue: Moon Field, University of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, Va.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Both Belknap and Salem pitcher Kayla Ogle were dominant early as the teams entered the fourth inning in a scoreless deadlock.
Lynchburg took the lead in the bottom of the fourth when senior third baseman Taylor Mabry (Bassett, Va.) launched a solo homer to left field.
Belknap hardly let the Spirits sniff a tie ballgame as Salem baserunners reached second base just twice in the ballgame. A two-out walk followed by an error gave the Spirits life in the seventh, but Belknap got out of the inning with a ground ball to notch her second-career shutout.
Pitching also proved superior in the nightcap as runs came at a premium. Lynchburg to to Salem starter Miranda Barker for a second-inning run, an RBI single by sophomore right fielder Jordyne Vance (Lynchburg, Va.) to bring home sophomore designated player Morgan Mitchell (Mineral, Va.), who led off the inning with a double.
Cisar continued to stymie Salem's offense, but Lynchburg broke through again in the fifth. Sophomore left fielder Kortney Leazer (Remington, Va.) led off the frame with a double and came home two batters later on a single off the bat of junior shortstop Kayla Hugate (Chesterfield, Va.).
The Spirits got a run back in the seventh and threatened for more, but Cox came into the game and got a pair of first-pitch groundouts to hold down the victory.
Lynchburg will remain home to take on the Cougars of Averett Thursday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.