The Lady Pioneers pushed the first run of the day across in game one with a groundout, but the Lady Cougars tied the game in the second inning as Kenzie Fish singled in a run.
The visitors took the lead in the fourth when Fish came through once again with an RBI single, giving Cleveland State a a 2-1 lead.
The wheels fell completely off the Lady Cougars’ wagon in the bottom of the fourth. The home team scored six times on five hits and two errors. Whitney Ford had a two-run single and the Lady Pioneers took a 7-2 lead, then tacked on another run in the fifth to take the first game.
Katie Pfost picked up the win for Volunteer State while Courtney Patrick suffered the loss.
Game two was a complete turnaround for the Lady Cougars. Meghan Smith tossed a complete game shutout to gain the split. Smith scattered eight hits and benefited from several nice defensive plays to get out of a couple of jams along the way. Kristen Todd suffered the loss for the Lady Pioneers.
Madison McKinney and Abby O’Rear knocked in a run each in the first inning and McKinney, Dee Elswick and Casey Griffin plated runs with a base hit apiece in the third to give Cleveland State a 5-0 lead.
Paige Smith joined the hit parade for the Lady Cougars in the sixth with a two-run single and Fish capped off the day with an RBI double in the seventh to finish the win.
English Nichols went 4-for-5 in game two while McKinney and Griffin each went 2-for-4.
“Lack of defense was the difference in game one, but the second game was like the beginning of the year,” explained Lady Cougar coach Katie Willingham. “Errors got the best of us in the first game, but in the second game we hit the ball, executed with runners on base and played tough defense. Twice we got out of bases loaded situations without giving up a run and that’s the way we should play every time out, not just every other game. Hopefully we can figure out how to do that and get a few more wins.”
The Lady Cougars will travel to Gordon College for a pair of games Thursday.