Atlanta, Ga. -- Lynchburg College's softball season came to an end Saturday afternoon at the Atlanta Regional of the NCAA Division III tournament by way of a 4-2 loss to host Emory University.
Junior right-hander Taylor Belknap (Arden, N.C.) pitched well, allowing six hits and three earned runs over six-plus innings of work, but she was saddled with the hard-luck loss.
The Hornets out-hit Emory with 10 hits to the Eagles' seven; Lynchburg was unable to come up with the big hit, though, going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Emory, the visiting team despite playing on its home field, went down in order in the first inning, but Lynchburg managed a threat right away in the bottom of the first. Mount had a one-out bunt single and reached second when senior second baseman Leslie Bourgeois (Bealeton, Va.) reached on an Emory fielding error, but a strikeout ended the inning.
The Hornets had better luck in the second, when freshman right fielder Jordyne Vance (Lynchburg, Va.) knocked a leadoff single. Sophomore left fielder Carol Oberhelman (Washington Township, N.J.) followed with a single of her own, and after Emory switched pitchers, junior catcher Brittany Coffey (Manassas, Va.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After a strikeout, Dickens delivered a sharp single up the middle that scored a pair.
LC stranded the other two baserunners, however, and settled for a 2-0 lead after two innings.
The Eagles' reliever, Jacquline Spizizen, scattered seven hits and struck out six over six innings without allowing a run (aside from the two inherited runners).
Meanwhile, Emory began to chip away at the lead. Jessy McLean led off the fourth inning with a single and came home on Cassie Baca's RBI double to cut the Lynchburg lead to 2-1. LC stranded runners in scoring position the next two times up, failing to take advantage of Bourgeois' leadoff double in the fifth.
Emory tied the game in the sixth, rallying after Belknap recorded two quick outs. A Sami Feller single set up Allie Moberg's game-tying double.
More bad fortune hit the Hornets in the bottom half of the inning after what appeared to be a stroke of good luck. Dickens legged out an infield single and advanced to second when the Eagles' throw went down the right-field line. Mount followed with a sharp grounder to shortstop, but Dickens was called for interference, and the inning ended.
The seventh brought more trouble for LC as Emory left fielder Jenna Wilson led off the inning with a single that chased Belknap from the game. Freshman right-hander Kayley Cox (Yorktown, Va.) entered in relief and got a quick out on a sacrifice bunt. A Lynchburg fielding miscue allowed the Eagles runners on first and second and one out before Emory attempted the double steal. Lynchburg's throw skipped out into left field, allowing the go-ahead run to score. McLean then made it 4-2 in favor of Emory with an RBI double before Cox got a pair of groundouts to end the inning.
Spizizen hurled a pair of quick outs in the seventh before Lynchburg began a rally. Junior first baseman Mackenzie Chitwood (Ferrum, Va.) ground out an eight-pitch at bat before she singled up the middle to extend the game, and Vance followed with a 10-pitch walk, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate for the Hornets. But the Eagles got the strikeout they needed to end the game.
Lynchburg finishes with an 0-2 record at the Atlanta Regional. It was the program's first trip to the NCAA tournament since the 2014 season. The Hornets wind up the season with a 30-14 record, the 10th in head coach Dawn Simmons' 20 seasons.