ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson softball team, ranked 20th in the nation, goes on the road for the first time this season on Thursday, as the Trojans look to extend their season-opening win streak to four after sweeping Lees-McRae last Sunday. First-pitch versus the Crusaders is slated for 2 p.m.
Anderson opened the 2014 campaign by taking two from the Bobcats, 8-0 and 10-0, with each contest halted after five innings.
Stellar performances in the circle by three newcomers headlined the afternoon as freshmen Lauren Rudesheim and Augie Pena, alongside junior Katelynn Howser, combined to toss 10 perfect innings on the afternoon. The trio held Lees-McRae hitless and did not issue any walks, while facing 31 Bobcat batters and striking out 13.
Rudesheim was named South Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Week following her performance, as the right-hander tossed four complete innings of perfect softball, while striking out five to earn her first win in the Black and Gold.
Senior catcher Laura Jansky was a perfect 4-for-4 on the afternoon and added a walk, while senior Abby Child went 3-for-5 with a pair of walks and an RBI. Senior outfielder Charlotte Sieber notched a pair of doubles and drove in two runs, with senior first-baseman Danielle Swygert going 2-for-4 on the afternoon. Jessica Neidigh, Courtney Czentnar and Molly Child all added home runs.
North Greenville was picked to finish fourth in the Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released in late January. The Crusaders posted a 20-20 mark overall a year ago, finishing three games over .500 in conference play with an 11-8-1 mark. NGU wrapped up the 2013 season with a second straight runner-up finish in the Conference Carolinas tournament, falling twice to Mount Olive in the finals.
A pair of current Crusaders earned postseason honors following last season, as
senior right-handed hurler Rachel Glazebrook was named First-Team All-Conference Carolinas and senior Sarah Armstrong earned second-team accolades. Glazebrook appeared in 27 games in the circle, posting a 1.92 ERA, while allowing just 96 hits in 157 innings. The Greenville, S.C., native walked just 49 batters, while striking out 194, which was second in the league. She held opponents to a .172 batting average, while she led North Greenville with a .388 average. Armstrong hit in the leadoff spot for the Crusaders, posting a .333 batting average on the season, with one home run. She was the team leader with a .429 on-base percentage and pounded out 44 hits on the season, including four doubles and a team leading four triples. Armstrong also led the team with 23 free passes.
Thursday’s twinbill marks North Greenville’s first contests of the season.
The Series vs. North Greenville
The Trojans and Crusaders have squared off on 22 occasions over the past 16 seasons, with Anderson holding a 12-10 advantage in the overall series. The two teams met 18 times between 1999 and 2006, with the series taking a six-year hiatus before last season’s matchups at Smethers Field.
AU has won four straight past the Crusaders, including last year’s 8-7 and 9-6 victories. With the wind chill hovering around the freezing mark, Samantha Young’s two-run walk-off single to the fence in right-center field gave Anderson the win in game one, while the Trojans rallied for four runs in the third inning of the nightcap to sweep NGU.
Molly Child drove in four runs with a fourth-inning grand slam in game one and added a pair of hits and an RBI in the second game, while Neidigh was 6-for-9 and scored four times. Abby Child was 2-for-5 with two RBI and four walks. Sieber added a double and a pair of singles and crossed the plate three times, with Jansky recording a pair of hits.