MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Charlotte softball (30-21, 9-11 C-USA) picked up its third Conference USA series victory Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader against Middle Tennessee (23-27, 6-14 C-USA) 9-5 and 5-1.
It was a record setting day for senior stalwart Lexi Betancourt, who became the all-time leader in wins at Charlotte with 70 in her career after a complete game performance in Game 1 where she limited the Blue Raiders to just four hits. Betancourt broke a 25-year old record, held by Courtney Hankes who played from 1988-1991.
Betancourt also tied the school record for starts at 137, and is now the school leader in appearances (146), wins (70), and innings pitched (866).
The bats were alive for the Niners as well, as the sophomore duo of Haley Pace and Grace Beatty each turned in stellar performances. Pace collected nine RBI and scored four times across the two games, including launching a homerun in each game, including her second career grand-slam in the nightcap to give Charlotte the lead.
Beatty went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI in the first game, and followed it up with another hit in Game 2. Freshman Emma Ocker also had a productive day, collecting four hits (including three in the first game) and scoring four times.
GAME 1: CHARLOTTE 9, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 5
The Niners attacked right away in the opening frame, scoring twice after Ocker singled over the third baseman’s head, advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Bailey Rhoney, Pace walked, and both came home on Beatty’s double down the right field line.
The lead was short lived, as the Blue Raiders took advantage of two walks before blasting a homerun to dead center to take the 3-2 advantage.
Charlotte reclaimed the lead in the fourth inning; Rhoney walked to lead off the inning, and Pace crushed the ball to left center for her team-high eighth homer of the season to put the 49ers back up 4-3.
They added to the lead the following frame, as sophomore Erin Powers led off with a double to left field, advanced to third on a sac bunt, and Ocker took the first pitch she saw to deep right center to bring her home and go up 6-3.
MT cut the lead that same inning using a two-out hit-by-pitch, fielding error, and double to plate two runs and trim the deficit to 6-5.
The Niners responded once again, crossing the plate three times in the top of the sixth using three singles (freshman Kiersten Berrier, Ocker, Pace) and Beatty’s second double of the day.
GAME 2: CHARLOTTE 5, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 1
The Blue Raiders scored right away in the nightcap, after a leadoff walk, stolen base, and double put them up 1-0.
A five-run fourth inning propelled Charlotte to victory. The Niners first tied it up after sophomore Taylar Byrne took a full count and doubled to right center, advanced to third on an infield single that Berrier beat out, and scoring on a double that Ocker pulled down the left field line.
After Rhoney was hit-by-pitch to load the bases, Pace crushed the ball to dead center field for her second homer of the day and Charlotte’s second grand slam of the season.
Sophomore Haley Wiseman calmed down in the circle after the first, facing just five batters over the minimum and picking up seven strikeouts on the day, including back-to-back looking to begin the seventh.
-With four today, Emma Ocker is now second all-time amongst freshmen in runs scored (34), and tied for second all-time in hits (53).
-With her RBI single in Game 1, freshman Meredith Harris took sole possession of eighth place for Freshmen RBI (21).
-The team's 30 wins is the seventh best in program history, and the most for the team since 2011, when they also collected 30.
Charlotte will face Middle Tennessee in the series finale Sunday at noon (central).