ROLLA, Mo. – After rallying twice to capture the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader with Lincoln, Missouri S&T completed the sweep in its home opener at the S&T Softball Field behind the pitching of Avery English (Carterville, Ill./Carterville) and a big blow off the bat of Olivia Young (Milstadt, Ill./Belleville Township).
The Lady Miners scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to win the first game of the twinbill 7-6, then won the nightcap 5-2 to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Game one was a back-and-forth affair, especially in the late innings. Lincoln (0-6) took the initial lead on Chelsey Kerr's solo home run in the third, but the Lady Miners went in front in the fourth on an RBI single by Courtney Jackson (Parkville, Mo./Park Hill South) and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ashley Davis (Erie, Ill./Erie).
Lincoln tied the contest back up in the fifth when Kerr singled home a run, but S&T regained the advantage in the bottom half of the inning when Monica Weiss (St. Louis, Mo./Marquette) led off the inning with a hit, stole second, moved to third on a fly ball and scored on Hannah Franceschini(Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield Central)'s hit.
After the Blue Tigers again tied the score in the sixth, the Lady Miners went in front in the bottom of the frame. Davis led off with a double to the fence in center and later scored when Weiss dumped a single in front of the left fielder. However, Lincoln went in front with two runs in the top of the seventh, taking the lead when Jordan Lawson singled just inside the third base bag to score Rachael Balke.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Miners loaded the bases with nobody out on two hits and a walk. Davis hit a grounder to third and the Blue Tigers got the force out at the plate, but the throw to first sailed down the right field line, allowing Young to come home with the tying run.
S&T, however, stranded the winning run at third and Lincoln went back in front with a run in the top of the eighth off English.
The Lady Miners answered back immediately in their half of the eighth. With the international tie-breaker in effect, Weiss reached base on an infield single and Carley Hamman bunted her way on to load the bases. Franceschini singled home the tying run, then Hannah Smith (Oconomowoc, Wis./Catholic Memorial) – hitting for the first time in the game – ended it with a sacrifice fly that scored Weiss with the winning run.
Missouri S&T outhit Lincoln 16-8 in game one, with Weiss becoming the fifth player in Lady Miner history – and first in a decade – to get five hits in a game. Four other Lady Miners had two hits apiece, while English got the win in her one inning appearance in the circle.
English started game two and was afforded a 2-0 lead in the first after run scoring doubles by Franceschini and Davis, but the Blue Tigers tied the game in the third on a two-run single by Emily Williams. English threw 29 pitches in the third, but got out of the inning with only those two runs by striking out Kerr with the bases loaded to end the frame.
After the first two hitters were retired in the bottom of the fourth, Jackson reached on a bunt single and stole second before Young hit a towering home run down the line in right to put S&T in front.
Once S&T got the lead back, English settled in and retired 12 of the final 13 Lincoln hitters to pick up her second win of the day and third on the season. The Lady Miners got her an insurance run in the fifth on Rachel Aiardo (Naperville, Ill./Naperville North)'s infield hit that scored Jackson.
S&T outhit 11-7 in the nightcap as Jackson had three hits and Hamman had two. Weiss drew a walk in her first at-bat in the second game and reached base for a seventh consecutive plate appearance with a hit in the second.
The Lady Miners are scheduled to return to action on Feb. 23 at the Lewis Dome Invitational in Rosemont, Ill. S&T was scheduled to play in Nashville, Tenn., over the weekend in the Music City Invitational, but that event was cancelled on Tuesday due to wet field conditions.