No. 20 softball tops E&H, falls to R-MC at ODAC tournament

Taylor Mabry hits a home run

Salem, Va. -- University of Lynchburg's softball team moved into the winners' bracket final Saturday on the second day of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament but couldn't get past Randolph-Macon, falling 3-1 in the second of the day's two ballgames at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex.

The third-seeded Hornets crushed No. 2-seed Emory & Henry in Saturday's opener, 12-3, continuing the offensive outburst they began in Friday's first-round win over Guilford.

R-MC pitcher Ali Celiberti slowed the Lynchburg attack in the nightcap Saturday, however, with a complete-game effort that held the Hornets to one run, a sixth-inning solo homer from senior third baseman Taylor Mabry (Bassett, Va.).

The Yellow Jackets already held a three-run lead at that point in the game, tagging Lynchburg starter Alex Cisar (Sykesville, Md.) for three runs in the second inning. Just one of the runs was earned, however, as a Lynchburg fielding miscue helped extend the deciding inning.

R-MC right fielder Kerstin Roth started the frame with a leadoff double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. She scored when Savannah Wood singled to the shortstop.

After the error, Celiberti came up with an RBI knock to chase Cisar from the game. Sophomore Kayley Cox (Yorktown, Va.) yielded an RBI single to Shelby Hill before getting out of the jam, and Cox shut the Yellow Jackets in check for the remainder of the ballgame.

Lynchburg's offense finally woke up in the sixth as Mabry led off the frame with a homer. The Hornets got the tying runs on base in the seventh, but Celiberti induced the game-ending groundout to push Randolph-Macon into Sunday's 4 p.m. final.

Lynchburg will move into the loser-out game at 1 p.m. Sunday, where they will face top seed and two-time defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan.

VWU knocked out Emory & Henry in the final ballgame of Saturday by a 4-1 score.

Lynchburg handed the Wasps their first loss of the tournament in the 1:30 p.m. round, rapping out 13 hits in the wire-to-wire win, their third meeting with E&H in less than a week.

Mabry slugged a three-run homer in the victory, and Cox went the distance in the circle.

Senior first baseman Mackenzie Chitwood (Ferrum, Va.) also drove three runs in for Lynchburg, and junior second baseman Sarah Commons (Glen Allen, Va.) had a two-RBI afternoon at the plate.

Cox was solid for the Hornets, tossing seven innings and scattering six hits. She allowed just one earned run and struck out three.

Lynchburg is currently ranked fifth in the latest Atlantic Region rankings and No. 20 in Division III in the NFCA Coaches Poll. The Hornets carry a 32-11 record and are in search of a second-straight trip to the national tournament after earning an at-large bid in 2018.

--LYN--

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