Lancers’ win streak grows to 11

Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, March 31, 2021

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Lancers junior slugger Sydney Jacobsen delivered a two-out, game-winning double in the top of the eighth inning to lift Longwood University’s softball team to a 6-4 win over Winthrop University on Sunday, March 28, that extended the Lancers’ win streak to 11 consecutive games and locked up a second straight Big South Conference series sweep.

In the finale of a three-game series that Longwood had already secured by sweeping a Saturday, March 27, doubleheader 2-1 and 6-4, Jacobsen polished off another nail-biter by driving in teammates Mason Basdikis and Destiny Martinez with her game-winning double in the top of the eighth. The game-winning knock negated a last-ditch rally that saw Winthrop score three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to force extra innings.

With the Lancers’ nearly three-week-long winning streak on the line, Jacobsen stepped to the plate with both teammates in scoring position and crushed her second hit of the game to center field to score both. The double was her team-leading seventh of the season and broke open a 4-4 deadlock, eventually propelling Longwood to a win that elevated the Lancers into a tie for first place in the Big South alongside fellow unbeaten University of South Carolina Upstate (6-0 Big South).

The win was also Longwood’s second in extra innings this season and continued a March surge in which the Lancers have won six consecutive Big South games and swept four straight series — including three-game series against Winthrop and Gardner-Webb University.

“Never a dull moment for Longwood softball,” first-year Longwood Head Coach Dr. Megan Brown said, who has led the Lancers to their longest winning streak since Kathy Riley’s 2016 squad won 12 in a row. “Our ladies truly showed the Longwood grit and fight. It took the whole team and eight innings, but we had a lot of lessons learned, and I’m so proud of their fight.

“Games like these this weekend teach valuable experience that simply cannot be learned any other way, and for that we are always grateful.”

The win was Longwood’s third straight by two runs or fewer and was anchored once again by a marathon performance from senior ace Sydney Backstrom (11-6), who threw the first seven innings before giving way to junior Angelina Sherba in the top of the eighth. Backstrom, who earned a win and a save in Saturday’s doubleheader sweep over the Eagles, picked up another victory Sunday before Sherba took over with a 6-4 lead and worked a hitless eighth to record her first career save.

Along with Jacobsen’s two RBIs, junior designated player Madison Blair also drove in a pair with a single swing when she launched her first homer of the season in the top of the fourth. That was one of two blasts for the Lancers in that inning, with the other coming off the bat of junior catcher Alexis Wayland, whose leadoff solo shot extended her hitting streak to a team-best 12 games.

Now winners of six straight Big South games and a perfect 5-0 at home, Longwood (15-13, 6-0 Big South) will put both of those unblemished marks on the line this Friday and Saturday, April 2 and 3, when fourth-place Campbell University comes to town for a three-game series beginning with a Friday doubleheader that starts at 1 p.m.