Softball opens season with doubleheader sweep of Belmont Abbey

SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba College opened its 2003 softball season with a doubleheader sweep of visiting Belmont Abbey at Whitley Field on Wednesday afternoon. The Lady Indians won by the scores of 4-1 and 9-1. Belmont Abbey falls to 0-3. In the opener, Val McDowell (Crofton, MD) led off the first with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Rachel McCollum (Yadkinville, NC) to give Catawba a 1-0 lead. The Crusaders tied the game in the second on a two-out double by Stefanie Spink (Delray Beach, FL). Catawba took the lead for good in its half of the third as McCollum doubled with two outs, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a single by Katie Phelps (Prince Frederick, MD). The Lady Indians added some insurance runs in the fifth as Jenn Ropp (Broadway, VA) tripled home Ashlee Rhoades (China Grove, NC) and later scored on an error. McDowell and Ropp each had two hits to pace the Catawba offense, while Megan Wilson (Stuart, VA) earned the win on the mound. The sophomore scattered seven hits over the seven innings, while walking none and recording seven strikeouts. Leigh Carter (Gastonia, NC) collected three hits for Belmont Abbey in the opener. In the second game, both teams scored a run with two outs in the opening frame. The Crusaders got a two-out RBI single from Jennifer Van Gundy (Golden, CO), while Shannon Handy (Advance, NC) scored on a wild pitch for Catawba. Neither team would tally again until Catawba erupted for eight runs in the fifth to end the game. Nine straight Lady Indians would reach base with one out, while McDowell singled home the winning run with a two-out bunt. Handy had singled home the go-ahead run earlier in the frame, while Phelps and Jessica Rivera (Key West, FL) had a two-run singles. Handy earned the win on the mound, allowing six hits over five innings. She had five strikeouts. McDowell, Handy and McCollum each had two hits in the win. Van Gundy had two hits for Belmont Abbey. #####

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