FARMINGTON — Hannah Hicks and Katie Bevins College lifted a struggling offense with back-to-back home runs, as the Mineral Area College softball team snapped an 8-game losing streak on Tuesday.
Melanie Hager and Meme Pruiett each finished 3-for-3 with a combined five runs scored, and the Lady Cardinals collected 20 hits to defeat Dyersburg State (Tenn.) 15-11 in the first game of a home doubleheader.
Allyson Luce went 3-for-5 with three RBI to match Hicks, whose two-run blast sparked a pivotal bottom of the third inning after Mineral Area had spotted the visiting Eagles seven runs during the top half.
Bevins followed with a drive that carried over the left-field fence, cutting the MAC deficit to 7-6. Pruiett netted the tying run when Tristan Branch’s infield hit was thrown away, and Luce added a go-ahead RBI ground out.
The Lady Cardinals erupted for six insurance tallies after starting the fourth with six consecutive singles — including RBI hits from Bevins, Megan Smith and Rebecca Hanquist — and never looked back.
No leads were safe with gusting winds blowing toward the outfield fence, as the teams combined for eight home runs in the wild twinbill. Mineral Area led the opener 3-0 after Hager and Hicks lined RBI singles in the first inning.
MAC pitcher Hannah Ghant yielded eight hits and recorded four strikeouts in the win. Her outing began with two perfect frames before back-to-back walks spelled trouble in the third.
A tricky pop fly landed safely inside the circle after being carried away from first base, resulting in a two-out single for Kylie Underwood. Losing pitcher Stephanie Murphy extended the inning with a RBI single to center.
An ensuing fielder’s choice failed to get the third out, and sophomore third baseman Casey Russell crushed a grand slam to left. Kendal Johnson tagged a solo shot two pitches later, giving Dyersburg State a 7-5 advantage.
Russell connected again in the fifth for a two-run homer to finish with six RBI in the contest.
Hanquist finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored, and Branch singled twice for the Lady Cardinals.
Game two saw both clubs relinquish late leads before the Eagles netted five runs on four hits and two errors in the eighth inning to secure a 10-5 victory.
Dyersburg State regained a 5-4 advantage when Underwood smacked a two-run homer in the seventh against MAC hurler Kallie Federhofer, who notched five strikeouts in the loss.
But Mineral Area was given a second life when the potential final out was dropped near the left-field line, enabling Hanquist to score from third base after her single began the bottom of the seventh.
Winning pitcher Lyndsey Coxwell singled home the decisive run with the bases loaded in the eighth, and Ashley Hargrove added another RBI single before three additional Eagles crossed the plate.
Coxwell fanned 10 batters and walked two while allowing eight hits, and enjoyed a 3-0 lead in the fifth after launching a long solo homer that barely remained fair in the sixth.
The Lady Cardinals responded with four runs in the home half to suddenly surge ahead, as Emily Hanquist singled and Hager doubled with one out. A sacrifice fly from Hicks ended the shutout bid for Coxwell.
Bevins made it 3-2 as a pinch-hitter with a RBI double to right-center, and sophomore third baseman Tory Smith lined her first home run of the spring beyond the left-field fence, bringing MAC within three outs of a sweep.
Smith delivered a defensive highlight with Dyersburg State threatening to increase a 2-0 margin in the fifth. She stepped on third after fielding a sharp grounder, then threw home to complete an inning-ending double play.
Emily Hanquist made a lunging grab while racing into left-center to prevent further damage in the eighth.
Underwood added a double while going 4-for-4 with three RBI to pace the Eagles. Leadoff batter McKenzie Norris chipped in two singles with two runs scored.
Rebecca Hanquist was 2-for-3 and catcher Taylre Scott singled for Mineral Area (5-10), which will travel to St. Charles on Thursday before hosting Three Rivers on Saturday.
Dyersburg St 007 020 2 – 11 8 2
Mineral Area 215 601 x – 15 20 1
WP – Hannah Ghant LP – Stephanie Murphy
Dyersburg St – Casey Russell 2-4, Stephanie Murphy 1-3, Courtney Sizemore 1-3, Kendal Johnson 1-3, Ashlee Nichols 1-3, Kylie Underwood 1-4, Leann Staser 1-4. HR – Russell 2, Johnson.
Mineral Area – Melanie Hager 3-3, Meme Pruiett 3-3, Allyson Luce 3-5, Hannah Hicks 3-5, Katie Bevins 2-4, Rebecca Hanquist 2-4, Tristan Branch 2-4, Megan Smith 1-4, Emily Hanquist 1-5. 2b – Pruiett. HR – Hicks, Bevins.
Dyersburg State 010 101 25 – 10 13 2
Mineral Area 000 004 10 – 5 8 4
WP – Lyndsey Coxwell LP – Kallie Federhofer
Dyersburg State – Kylie Underwood 4-4, Lyndsey Coxwell 2-4, McKenzie Norris 2-4, Ashlee Nichols 1-2, Casey Russell 1-4, CorrieAnn Hickerson 1-4, Ashley Hargrove 1-4, Kendal Johnson 1-5. 2b – Underwood. HR – Underwood, Coxwell.
Mineral Area – Rebecca Hanquist 2-3, Katie Bevins 1-1, Melanie Hager 1-3, Taylre Scott 1-3, Allyson Luce 1-4, Emily Hanquist 1-4, Tory Smith 1-4. 2b – Hager, Bevins. HR – Smith.