The Cleveland State Lady Cougars took care of business on Saturday afternoon at Lady Cougar Field with a sweep of a doubleheader over Jackson State and in the process won their first Region VII Conference series of the season by taking three of the four games from the Lady Generals.
Both games on Saturday were as tight as they could be as the Lady Cougars somehow managed to scratch out a single run in each game in their last at-bat to get the sweep, winning game one 4-3 and the second by a final score of 9-8.
On Friday, the teams split a twin bill as the Lady Generals took game one with a 6-1 decision and the Lady Cougars did a complete turnaround in game two to take the five-inning affair, 8-0.
"I'm really proud of these girls. We needed to win a series, and they stuck with it and got it done," said Lady Cougar coach Katie Willingham. "That was our goal, to win the series, and the girls just kept coming back and got it done. They worked hard and responded when we challenged them, and it was good to finish our weekend on a high note."
The visitors jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead to start the festivities on Saturday as three straight infield singles and a sacrifice fly by Madison Ballard produced a run.
The Lady Cougars got that run back plus one in their half of the first as Sara O'Rear picked up a two-out double and then trotted home ahead of Maura Ditto who airmailed a long home run into the parking lot just inside the right field foul pole for a 2-1 lead.
CSCC tacked on another run in the second frame as Amber Covington led off the inning with a long homer that just curled inside the left field foul pole to push the lead to 3-1.
A two-out Cleveland State miscue allowed two runs to cross for the Lady Generals in the top of the third to tie the game at 3-3.
Still tied in the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Cougars mounted a rally. Pinch hitter Amber Swaney came up with the clutch two-out single as she punched a bunt attempt past the pitcher and into no man’s land for what turned out to be the game-winner.
The Lady Generals made things interesting in their last at-bat as they had one on and one out, but a line shot at first baseman Ditto, turned from a sure hit into a double play to end game one.
Ida Watson went the distance to get the win for Cleveland State (11-18, 8-15) C.B. Friedman took the loss for the Lady Generals.
The Lady Generals jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first as Kirsten Henry hit a two-run homer.
The Lady Cougars countered in the bottom of the first with four big runs of their own. Ditto doubled in a pair of runs, and Sydney Howell followed with an RBI double as well and came around to score on a two-out single from Meghan Allen for a 4-2 lead.
The Lady Generals chipped away at the lead with a single run each in the second and third innings. Bo Sullivan doubled in a run in the second while a Lady Cougar miscue allowed the tying run to cross the plate.
The visitors took the lead again in the top of the fourth as Kylie Hand singled and scored ahead of a double from Henry while Henry came all the way around to score on the play after a throwing error for a 6-4 lead.
CSCC bounced right back in the bottom of the fourth as once again it was Ditto coming through with the big hit, this time a two-run single, plating Leslie Still and Sara O'rear to tie the game one more time at 6-6.
Cleveland State seesawed back on top in the bottom of the sixth as Emily Huston tripled and scored on a beautiful sacrifice bunt from O'Rear while the tying run crossed on a Lady General miscue.
A double, a sacrifice fly and another error allowed the visitors to tie the game once again in the top of the seventh, but the Lady Cougars would not be denied as they went on top for good in the bottom of the seventh.
Amber Swaney started the uprising with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Huston. With two outs, Leslie Still lifted a routine fly ball to centerfield. The ghosts of Lady Cougars past must have lent a hand as the would be third out bounced out of the glove and fell harmlessly to the ground, allowing the home team to win in amazing fashion.
Kelsey Capella went the distance to get the win, while Friedman took the loss.
On Friday, the Lady Generals wasted no time in taking control of game one of the series as they put four runs on the board in their first turn at the plate. Kylie Hand singled in a run to start the rally, Tiffany Keck plated two more with a base knock and Ashlayn Hardy added another on a sacrifice fly for a quick 4-0 lead.
The Lady Generals tacked on a run in the top of the sixth, but the Lady Cougars got that run back as they finally broke into the scoring column. Ciera Belcher reached on an error and came around to score on a double by Maura Ditto to cut the lead to 5-1.
Friedman doubled in a run in the top of the seventh to finish game one and also went the distance in the circle to pick up the win for the Lady Generals. Kelsey Haley took the loss for the Lady Cougars while Ida Watson pitched five innings in relief. The Lady Cougars had only four hits, while Jackson had 10.
The Lady Cougars jumped on top early in game two and scored in every inning. Ditto continued her hot hitting with an RBI double in the first while Paige Mayer doubled in a run of her own in the second for a quick 2-0 lead.
The home team tacked on three big runs in the third as Still doubled in a pair of runs and then scored on an illegal pitch for a 5-0 advantage.
The Lady Cougars added another run in the fourth on a Lady General miscue and then two more for good measure in the fifth on four singles including RBI safeties from Mayer, Huston and Jasmine Cobb to end the game in five innings.
Capella tossed a gem in the circle for Cleveland State as she completed the five-inning shutout and allowed only one hit along the way to get the win. Hardy took the loss for Jackson.
The Lady Cougars will travel to Gallatin for a four-game series with Volunteer State next weekend.