Columbus, Ga.- Lynn University's softball team split on opening day at the Peach Belt-Sunshine State Conference Crossover Challenge on Saturday afternoon. In the season opener, the Fighting Knights lost to No. 24 Columbus State, 5-2, before defeating Lander, 8-7, in walk-off fashion. Kasey Murray was the hero of the day with the game winning hit against Lander after pitching a complete game to start the day.
Columbus State got on the board first in the third inning when Suzanne Carney hit a solo homerun into deep center field. The Cougars would score again in the fourth when Nina Rubio singled up the middle and sent Chandler Padgett home from second base.
Kodi Ricketson doubled to deep right field scoring two more runs for the CSU in the fifth inning and the Cougars scored their final run in the sixth inning Morgan Staffins hit a sacrifice fly to right field.
Lynn would build a rally in the bottom of the sixth inning when the Fighting Knights scored on a throwing error by the Cougars third baseman with bases loaded. The Blue & White was unable to add more runs in the bottom of the seventh, to lose the first game.
Murray pitched a complete game allowing nine hits and five runs with two strikeouts and was handed her first loss of the season. Four members of the Fighting Knights got a hit while Murray and Wright each scored runs.
In the second game Lynn scored its first run when Danielle McNeill was struck by a pitch with bases loaded. An inning later the Fighting Knights added two more runs when Murray and Vassallo scored on a dropped ball by Lander's first baseman.
Lander cut the Blue & White's lead in half when Aubrey Lamar hit a two-run homerun over the right centerfield wall. The Bearcats continued to threat in the top of the fourth but Lynn escaped the jam with two runners left of base of LU.
The Fighting Knights added a run each in the fifth and sixth innings extending the lead to 6-4. Lander would not go down without a fight scoring five runs in the top of the seventh inning, three of which came on Lamar's second home run of the game giving Lander a 7-5 lead.
Lynn evened the score with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning when Sara Vasquez reached on an error, which scored McNeill and Christina Carvatta.
Despite playing the international extra innings rule where a runner is placed on second to start the inning, Lander could not score in the top of the eighth. With Devin Kochergen at second to start the bottom of the inning for Lynn, the Bearcats intentionally walked Crystal Cano with one out. Murray stepped to the batter's box fearless. She then doubled down the left field line with a 1-1 count to bring Kochergen home for the victory.
Murray went 3-for-5 with the game-winning RBI while scoring two runs for the Fighting Knights while also pitching in relief earned the win. Leanne Wright went 2-for-4 with an RBI of her own while McNeill reached base after getting hit in three separate at bats. Lynn stranded 13 runners on base while scoring eight runs, only two of which were earned.
The Fighting Knights will take on Lander at 9 a.m. on Sunday, February 2, in the second day of the PBC-SSC Tournament. Fans can follow the action live at LynnFightingKnights.com. Don't forget to 'Like' us on Facebook and follow @LUKnights on Twitter, Instagram and Vine.