MOUNT OLIVE – The Mount Olive College hurler Lauren Smith has been named the Conference Carolinas Softball Pitcher of the Week after picking up first victory of the season in a doubleheader sweep at Wingate University last week.
Smith, a sophomore right-hander from Clinton, tossed a complete game four-hit shutout in the Trojans’ game two win against Wingate, which entered the doubleheader against the Trojans with a 10-2 record and averaging more than five runs per game. All four hits were singles and Smith did not allow a runner past second base after the first inning. She retired nine of the final 11 batters she faced, retiring the side in order in the fifth and seventh innings.
Mount Olive swept the non-conference doubleheader at Wingate in its only two games of the week after rain canceled Saturday’s doubleheader. The two wins extended Mount Olive’s winning streak to five as the Trojans improved to 9-3 on the season.
The Trojans’ doubleheader sweep over Wingate became even more impressive later in the week as Wingate went on to play nationally 11th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State to a tie and post a 14-0 victory over a Conference Carolinas opponent.
Smith tossed her second straight shutout and Kelsey Akers accounted for all three Mount Olive runs as the Trojans salvaged a split with a 3-0 win over UNC Pembroke in game two of a non-conference doubleheader Thursday at Pembroke. Akers scored a run in the first inning and drove in a pair in the seventh inning.
Mount Olive had its five-game winning streak snapped in the opener as the Trojans fell 4-2.
Mount Olive (10-4) gave Smith an early lead as Akers drew a leadoff walk and scored the game’s first run on Katie Moore’s one-out double. That would be all Smith (2-1) would need, even though UNC Pembroke had two baserunners in four of the first five innings.
Smith overcame a leadoff walk and Brea Hartley’s two-out double in the bottom of the first with a strikeout to end the inning. After retiring the side in order in the second, Smith benefitted from defensive help in the third as catcher Kassie Lowe threw a runner out attempting to steal second.
Smith retired three straight batters in the fourth after allowing a pair of singles to start the inning and Lowe threw out a runner trying to steal third after UNC Pembroke had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth.
The Trojan offense gave Smith some insurance in the top of the seventh as Kalie Smith led off with a single and Savannah Becker drew a two-out walk. Akers followed with a double to right-center to drive in both runners.
Smith retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings to seal the win. Smith finished with a six-hitter, striking out four and walking one.
In the opener, UNC Pembroke (10-13) led 3-0 after two innings as Hartley singled home a run in the first and Kellie Van Dyke’s rbi-double started a two-run second inning. The Braves added a run in the fifth.
Mount Olive rallied in the sixth as the Trojans capitalized on a pair of miscues behind the plate. Beth Overman had a leadoff single, went to second on a passed ball and scored on Jennifer Jones’ rbi-single. Jones eventually scored from third on another passed ball.
The Trojans had the tying run on base with one out in the seventh as Kelsey Akers reached on an error to lead off the inning and eventually went to third on Danielle Mitchell’s single. But UNCP pitcher Starr Gilley retired the next two batters on an infield popup and a flyout to left to end the game.
Trojan starter Carly White (4-2) went the distance, striking out three and walking none.