Written by Sean Dahlin
BUENA VISTA, Va.—On home-opening day, senior starter McKenzy Mackay (Kaysville, Utah)—who pitched a complete-game, five strikeout outing—led the Southern Virginia University softball team to its first win of 2013 with a 3-2 advantage over NAIA-affiliate Bluefield College after dropping game one 10-1.
"I'm excited for our team earning our first win of the season today in a tight game," said third-year Head Coach Duste Grawrock. "One of our main focuses has been to come out of the gate scoring early, and it was good to see us execute that part of our game plan."
After Bluefield College (3-3) got to within one run with Aline Uehara scoring in the bottom of the sixth inning, Southern Virginia (1-3) starting pitcher Mackay shut the door retiring three consecutive batters in the top of the seventh of game two to seal the Knights' 3-2 victory in front of their home crowd.
Southern Virginia struck first in Monday's second game of the doubleheader as freshman Cheyenne Hegsted (Rupert, Idaho)—who was 3-for-7 and stole three bases on the day—started the contest hitting a leadoff double and stole third before Chance Hegsted (Rupert, Idaho) knocked in her twin sister on an RBI-ground out to second base for the score.
The Knights extended their lead to 3-0 when freshman second baseman Katie Evans (Grays Lake, Idaho) hit in sophomores Marva Warndahl (Woodland, Wash.) and Sarah Edwards (Phoenix, Ariz.) on a single up the middle in the bottom half of the second.
"Katie [Evans] stepped up today with a big hit at the plate to not leave her teammates stranded," said Grawrock.
The rest of the game was a defensive struggle with neither team able to score until the Rams got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth on an RBI-double to center field by Kasey Holcomb.
McKenzy Mackay (Kaysville, Utah) threw seven innings, striking out a game-high five batters and allowing two runs on seven hits in the win improving to 1-1, while Bluefield starting pitcher Megan Meismer (1-2) was given the loss, allowing three earned runs on eight hits in six inning.
"McKenzy [Mackay] pitched a great game from start to finish, keeping her composure even as the pressure rose late in the game," said Grawrock. "We can expect more solid outings from her as the season rolls on."
Starting catcher Edwards and right fielder Warndahl, who are batting .556 and .364 on the season respectively, each went 2-for-3 at the plate in game two.
In game one, the Knights jumped ahead early as Che. Hegsted hit home plate on a bases-loaded walk issued to third baseman Sara Harmon (Buena Vista, Va.) in the bottom of the first.
Southern Virginia maintained the 1-0 advantage until singles from teammates McGrady and Breanne Vencil gave Bluefield the 2-1 lead through four complete.
The contest then broke open in the top of the sixth inning as the Rams scored six runs, highlighted by three-run home runs from Jessica Dutka and Uehara on route to the 10-1 win.
In addition to her blast over the center field fence in the sixth, Uehara (1-1) earned the win in the circle allowing one run on four hits in six innings of work. Sophomore starter Annie Biggs (0-2) registered the loss while tossing all six innings as well.
Tandem Cha. Hegsted—she was 2-for-2 at the dish with two bases stolen in game one—and Che. Hegsted accounted for all four of the Knights' hits in the first game on Monday.
Softball stays at home for the weekend taking on fellow USCAA-member Washington Adventist University in a doubleheader on Mar. 1, and then facing NCAA Division III Randolph College in a twin bill the next day, Mar. 2.