Ladies Continue Hot Streak at UMKC
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Despite playing in cold temperatures in Kansas City, the Centenary softball team continued to sizzle, improving its Summit League record to a perfect 5-0 on Tuesday. The Ladies swept a doubleheader from UMKC by the scores of 7-0 and 3-1 to extend their win streak to six games.


Centenary (16-15, 5-0 Summit) has now won 14 of its last 16 games and climbed above .500 on the season with Tuesday’s victories. The Ladies have benefited from playing their tough early season schedule now that conference play has rolled around.


In the series opener, pitcher Ryan Thacker (10-6) was again on her game, tossing another complete-game shutout. She silenced the UMKC (2-15, 0-4 Summit) bats, surrendering only three hits and striking out five without a walk.


The game cruised along with neither team able to muster up any offense in the early going. Centenary put together a two-out rally in the fourth to load the bases, but UMKC pitcher Samantha Hurst got a key out to escape any further damage.


The Kangaroos brought in Alicia Baker to start the fifth in the pitching circle and the Ladies responded immediately. With the bases loaded again with two outs, Jennifer Martin scored the first run of the game on a passed ball. Minutes later, Lyn Virdell scored while pinch running for Caitlin Cavarra on another passed ball.


Leading 2-0 in the seventh inning, Centenary posted a five-spot to close the door on the Kangaroos. Cavarra singled, and after being sacrificed to second by Bonnie Matak, scored on an Emerald Doria ringing double. Allison Shepperd followed with her team-leading seventh double to plate Doria, and after a walk, Lauren Flowers blasted her third long ball on the season to run the score to 7-0.


The strong pitching of the Ladies staff continued in the second game with Stacy Whitmer and Lauren Highsmith combining for the win. Whitmer (5-5) went four innings to earn the victory, giving up one run on three hits. Highsmith picked up her fourth save after hurling three scoreless innings, striking out two against just one hit.


The Ladies again got on the board in the fourth inning on a trio of doubles. Martin started the barrage, then Matak found a gap to score Martin. Doria drew a walk and Shepperd doubled again to stake Centenary to a 2-0 lead.


Back-to-back doubles of its own to lead off the bottom of the inning got UMKC within one run, but Centenary added an insurance run in the fifth to seal the win.


Flowers led off with a single and a sacrifice bunt by Allison McClain moved her up to second. Beth Krysiak was called upon to pinch-hit and came through, lacing a double to drive in Flowers.


Flowers finished the day going 5-for-6 at the plate with two runs and three RBI.


Highsmith took care of the Kangaroos the rest of the way, sitting down nine of the 10 batters she faced to end the game.


Centenary and UMKC will conclude the series with a single game on Wednesday, scheduled for a 12 p.m. first pitch.