CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte softball (31-23, 10-13 C-USA) suffered a sweep on Saturday, falling in both games of its doubleheader with Louisiana Tech (31-19, 12-8 C-USA) 6-0 and 7-4 at Phillips Softball Complex.
Despite doubling the number of hits as LA Tech in Game 2 and getting two runners aboard in five of the seven innings in Game 1, Charlotte was unable to muster enough offense to overcome first inning jitters in both contests.
Miscues combined with close calls and a few walks proved to be Charlotte’s enemy, as the Lady Techsters scored two runs in the first inning of each game via that formula.
Freshman Emma Ocker led the offense, collecting five hits on the day and scoring twice. Classmate Meredith Harris and sophomore Haley Pace slugged four hits apiece across the two games. Ocker is now the all-time leader for freshmen runs scored at 38, replacing Jessica Moore (2004-37), and sits just four hits away from tying the freshmen record for hits (64).
GAME 1: LOUISIANA TECH 6, CHARLOTTE 0
For just the third time this season, the Niners were shutout, despite getting two runners aboard in each of the first three innings, and two on again in the fifth and sixth.
Down 2-0 early thanks to back-to-back walks, a throwing error, and a single, the Niners looked to reply in the first inning, when Ocker and Pace both connected for gap singles, but were unable to cross home safely.
In the second inning, Harris singled on a ball that dropped into left field, and classmate Lizzy Birch reached on a fielder’s choice bunt as the fielder tried to get Harris out. In the third, sophomore Bailey Rhoney laced a single down the left field line, and Pace walked to put two on, but once again, were left stranded.
Two solo shots in the fourth and fifth gave the Lady Techsters some cushion at 4-0, and Charlotte again threatened with Ocker singling and Rhoney reaching via walk in the fifth, and keeping with the unfortunate pattern of the day, got another runner on in the sixth but couldn’t cross the plate.
GAME 2: LOUISIANA TECH 7, CHARLOTTE 4
In almost identical fashion to Game 1, LA Tech took advantage of opening inning butterflies in take an early lead, capitalizing on three walks and a hit-by-pitch to go up 2-0.
Charlotte cut the lead in half the bottom of the frame, as Ocker beat out an infield single down the third base line, advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Rhoney, moved to third on a single through the left side from Pace, and scored on a double from sophomore Grace Beatty.
Tech took the run back, scoring in the second off an error and double. Ocker worked her magic once again, sending the ball to shallow center for another leadoff hit. After yet another sacrifice bunt from Rhoney, Pace brought Ocker home to trim the lead to 3-2.
The contest remained in crunch mode until the sixth, when a solo homer gave the Lady Techsters insurance at 4-2.
Two errors and two hits brought another three LA Tech runs in the seventh, where the Niners responded by plating two, but left two runners on to end the contest at 7-4.