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Senior Carly White pitched in four victories as the University of Mount Olive softball team beat Limestone 11-3 Sunday, April 27, in Burlington and won the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament.
White, a West Brunswick graduate, was the winning pitcher in all four games and improved her record to 10-5. The Trojans (24-24) earned an automatic bid to the Southeast Regional of the NCAA Division II Softball Championship Tournament. Bids will be announced May 5 for the regional, which gets under way May 9.
In the 2013 conference tournament, Trojan head coach Jaime Kylis-Higginbotham maintained a three-pitcher rotation in all seven games. This year, she started White every game.
“You ride the person with the hot hand — and Carly had the hot hand,” she said.
“There was no question we were going with the senior and she put us on her back.”
White, who also played volleyball at West Brunswick and Mount Olive, is 7-0 with a no-decision in her last eight starts. Her current streak started with a five-hit shutout April 12, Senior Day.
“That was definitely a turning point,” she said. “I had struggled and the team had struggled earlier, but we came in here this weekend with a lot of confidence.”
In a first-round game Friday, April 25, White gave up six hits and benefited from an inning-ending 2-6-2 double play as fourth-seeded University of Mount Olive shut out No. 5 seed Erskine 4-0 White retired the side in order on four pitches in the first inning and also retired the side in order in the fourth and sixth innings. The Flying Fleet threatened in the seventh with runners on first and second with one out, but White sealed the win with an infield pop-out and her fifth strikeout of the game.
At the plate, White was 1-for-3 with a double.
White pitched Mount Olive to two victories Saturday, April 26.
In a 6-2 victory against Limestone, White gave up three hits and two unearned runs in four innings. She struck out none and walked two.
At the plate, she was 1-for-2 with a double. She also was hit by a pitch.
White went the distance for her third tournament victory as the Trojans beat second-seeded King (Tenn.) 4-1 in the second game Saturday. White gave up five hits, struck out three and walked one.
In the battle of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the tournament, White took a two-hit shutout into the bottom of the sixth inning before King collected three base hits and scored its only run. White retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh.
At the plate, White had one RBI.
In the championship game Sunday, April 27, White gave up three runs — two earned — and five hits in 5.2 innings. She struck out two and walked none.
At the plate, she was 1-for-3.
The Trojans clinched the victory by scoring five runs in the top of the seventh. The championship extended the Trojans’ winning streak to 10 and was the ninth straight in the conference tournament.
This conference tournament run was in direct contrast from last year, when Mount Olive had to win four consecutive elimination games – including two 10-inning wins in one day – just to reach the championship game.
“Last year was exciting, but I prefer the way we did it this year,” White said.