ROCKINGHAM — It has been awhile since either the Richmond Senior baseball or softball teams have lost a regular season Southeastern Conference contest.
In fact, it has been just over 23 months.
The baseball team dropped its regular season finale to Curt Britt and Scotland on April 26, 2012. Britt had a run-scoring single in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Raiders 1-0. Richmond’s Nic Bullard and Britt were locked in a pitcher’s duel as the pair combined for 25 strikeouts.
Bullard, a sophomore at the time, had allowed just two earned runs at that point during the season.
“Nic has thrown lights out for us all year,” Richmond baseball coach Ricky Young said after the game. “He was pounding the strike zone tonight and he gave us an opportunity to win.”
Since the loss to Scotland, Richmond has reeled off 12 straight conference regular season victories. Including last season’s conference tournament, the Raiders are on a 14-game SEC winning streak.
The hot stretch will be tested tonight by Lumberton and its pitching staff which features a 1.90 ERA. Senior Justice Sampson hurled a no-hitter against the Raiders, but was saddled with the loss. Sampson picked up the victory Tuesday against Hoke, so Lumberton coach Paul Hodges is expected to start sophomore sensation Evan Odum. A UNC verbal commitment, Odum recorded 19 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings of relief against Pinecrest last week.
The softball team’s regular season league winning streak stretches a little further — nine days — to April 17, 2012.
Alex Miles ripped a double into the right-center field gap to score Alexis Locklear from first to lift Purnell Swett to a 6-5 victory over Richmond in 12 innings. The Rams had 13 hits in the game, while the Raiders were limited to six.
“That was the difference right there,” Richmond softball coach Wendy Wallace said following the loss. “They had runners on in every inning but one.”
The Raiders have won 15 consecutive SEC regular season matchups. The only hiccup has been in the conference tournament, where the Scots have knocked them out of the past two.
Even though Lumberton graduated its top pitcher — Meagan Skipper — from last season, it is still capable of pulling off the upset.
Lumberton pulled away in the sixth inning to defeat Hoke 14-5. Richmond struggled to find its offensive rhythm against Hoke, posting a 3-1 win.
Despite its 2-6 overall record, the Pirates are hitting .340 as a team. Joy Church is batting a team-leading .500 and is tied with Danielle Smith with 12 RBIs. Smith is hitting .480 with two doubles and a home run.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.