King tops Cougars in opening game of tournament

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Chrissy Melcher hit a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the seventh inning to lead King University to a 2-0 win over Columbus State on Friday in the opening game of the Cougar Classic softball tournament.

Tornadoes starter Hannah Light surrendered only one hit, a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh by Taylor Turner. Light struck out four in tossing the shutout in King's season opener.

Turner was also tough from the circle as she struck out eight batters and allowed just two runs and four hits. The Lady Cougars fell to 3-2 and Turner is now 2-1.

Only one Lady Cougar was able to get into scoring position. Nina Rubio walked to start off the bottom of the sixth. Suzanne Carney scooted her to second on a sacrifice bunt, followed by a strikeout by Morgan Knight. Casey Googe was also walked to put two CSU runners on base, but Light managed to get out of the inning by striking out CSU's cleanup hitter Morgan Staffins.

Columbus State went three-and-out in the first four innings and left one runner on base in four at-bats in the fifth.

King threatened the Lady Cougars in the top of the fifth. After Octavia Lewis-Rand was hit by a pitch, Amber Walker had a perfectly laid bunt to scoot Lewis-Reed over to second and reach base herself. After a strikeout and groundout, with runners on second and third, CSU head coach Brad Huskisson made the strategic call to intentionally walk King's leadoff batter Chrissy Melcher. With force plays all around, Kodi Ricketson scooped up a grounder at third and launched a perfect throw to first that caught Cassie Ringstaff and ended the top.

Melcher returned the favor with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh to give the Tornado the upper hand. She fired a shot over right centerfield that also brought home Allie Spell, who had singled to right field.