DUE WEST, S.C. – The Anderson University softball team split a non-conference doubleheader with local rival Erskine, dropping a heart-breaking 6-5 extra-inning affair in the opener but bounced back to win the nightcap, 7-5, Thursday afternoon at the Erskine College Softball Complex.
Anderson moved to 33-10 on the season, setting a new school record for wins in a season, while Erskine improved to 18-20 on the year.
Erskine 6, Anderson 5 (9 innings)
Freshman second baseman Jessica Neidigh was 3-for-5 with a double and a pair of singles, while senior Brooke Lucas finished the opener 2-for-4 with a home run and a double.
Erskine catcher Larissa Shannon’s three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Flying Fleet to a come-from-behind win in the opener.
The Flying Fleet threatened in the bottom of the first inning by loading the bases with two out, as Shannon doubled with two out and Morgan Purcell and Bailey Thornton followed with back-to-back walks. But Anderson hurler Amber Duncan worked out of the jam by getting Ashlyn Hicks to bounce out to second for the final out of the inning.
Anderson loaded the bases with two out in the third inning, but was unable to get on the scoreboard until senior Brooke Lucas led off the fifth inning with her first home run of the season and just the second of her career to snap a scoreless tie. Freshman Jessica Neidigh followed with a double and the Trojans capitalized on a pair of Flying Fleet errors to boost their lead to 2-0 when Neidigh crossed the plate.
Erskine evened the score in the bottom of the frame on Shannon’s two-out, two-run home run, with Anderson re-taking a 3-2 edge in the sixth. Catcher Laura Jansky led off with her seventh double of the season and after Duncan moved her to third with a sacrifice bunt to the left side of the infield, Jansky scored on Stephanie Hanvey’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Trailing by one, Erskine knotted the score once again, by taking advantage of a Trojan fielding miscue to send the contest into extra innings.
Neither team was able to push another run across until the ninth inning, when Anderson pushed back ahead, 5-3, on the strength of a pair of singles and a double by Bri Cason, setting up Shannon’s heroics.
Duncan (18-8) suffered the setback, surrendering six runs on eight hits in 8 1/3 innings, while striking out five and walking three. Kelsey Spurrier earned the win, going the distance, while giving up five runs on nine hits.
Anderson 7, Erskine 5
Sophomore Danielle Swygert notched three singles in five at-bats, while center fielder Charlotte Sieber added a home run and a triple in four trips to the plate. She also scored twice and drove in two runs.
The Trojans rallied from a five-run deficit by exploding for six runs in the fifth inning to take a lead they would not relinquish. Lucas led off the inning with a double and scored on Sieber’s second triple of the season. With one out on the scoreboard, AU capitalized on three errors and three singles to bat around in the order.
Anderson added an insurance run in the sixth on Sieber’s first round-tripper of the season.
The Flying Fleet got the tying run on base in the seventh and final inning, but Neidigh (3-1) recorded the final two outs en route to her third win of the season. She surrendered five runs, while recording her second complete-game effort.
The Trojans worked Erskine starter Heather Richey (7-9) for seven runs off nine hits in five innings, saddling her with the loss.
Anderson wraps up the regular season on Saturday with a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader versus Tusculum that is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Smethers Field.