By RYAN CZACHORSKI Daily News
Effingham Daily News
---- — GREENUP — Olivia Titus stepped to the plate for the Cumberland Pirates, with the bases loaded, tied at 1-1 and nobody out in the fourth inning.
Titus hit a sharp ground ball to Marshall's Abbie Switzer, who fired a throw home to cut down Audrey Casey at the plate.
Marshall catcher Madison Shaffner dropped the ball, allowing Casey to score. And with that, the floodgates opened.
Cumberland scored seven more runs in the fourth inning to take a 9-1 lead, and despite a rough top of the fifth, the Pirates cruised to a 13-4 win over LIC foe Marshall. The game was not counted as an LIC contest, however.
The fourth inning showed a killer instinct that bodes well for the Pirates, said new head coach Marnie Blade.
"We had a lot of clutch hits with people on base," she said. "That's what you have to do."
Things started off quick for both teams. Cheyenne Thompson led off the game with a single for Marshall, and would come around to score on a two-out RBI single by Switzer.
Cumberland quickly answered, however. Casey ripped a one-out double off the left field wall, scoring Jasie McMechan to tie the game at 1-1.
Freshman Katie Poe toed the rubber for Cumberland, and found herself in trouble for the second straight inning. With runners on first and third with two out, Poe got Thompson to ground out to Taylor Layton to end the inning.
From there, Poe calmed down, retiring seven batters in a row. She started in place of staff ace Kaylee Carlen, who is out with an injury but may return Saturday.
"Poe is really doing well on the mound, working really hard on her composure and her different pitches, really proud of her.
Cumberland broke the walls down in the fourth following the run by Casey. After a strikeout by Paige Oakley, Cumberland rattled off four runs on a two-run single by Ashley Greger and a two-run double by Jordan Plummer to go up 6-1. By the end of the inning, Plummer would score on a passed ball and Poe and Layton each knocked in a run with RBI singles to extend the lead to 9-1.
Poe ran into a bit more trouble in the fifth. She struck out the leadoff hitter, but then surrendered a walk, a hit by pitch, a walk and another hit by pitch to score a run for the Lions. Switzer laced a two-run single to cut the lead to 9-4, but then Poe got out of the inning with a ground out and a flyball to Oakley.
The Pirates put the pressure right back on. Plummer got an RBI on a groundout to third, and McMechan and Casey had RBI singles to end the inning up 12-4.
Titus gave the Pirates more breathing room in the bottom of the sixth, crushing a leadoff homer to left center and giving Cumberland a 13-4 lead.
Poe finished out the game from there, and Cumberland moved to 1-0. The freshman went seven innings, allowed four runs, struck out three and walked one.
Casey went 3-for-4 with two RBI, scored twice and reached base all four times. Titus was 2-for-4 with a solo home run.
"We were hoping that we came out with tight defense and our offense would come through," Blade said. "Everything except some early game jitters, I thought they did well."
Cumberland 13, Marshall 4
Marshall 100 030 1 — 4 6 2
Cumberland 100 831 X — 13 14 0
WP — Poe LP — Macy Shaffner
Marshall — Switzer 2-3, 2 RBI
Cumberland -- Casey 3-4, 2 RBI, 2B, 2 R; Titus 2-4, HR, RBI, Plummer 1-4, 3 RBI, R