ANDERSON, S.C. – After having its mid-week and Saturday doubleheaders postponed, the No. 20-ranked Anderson softball team returns to the diamond this weekend, traveling to Orangeburg, S.C. on Sunday, as the Trojans square off against NCAA Division I South Carolina State. First-pitch versus the Lady Bulldogs is set for 1 p.m.
Anderson has opened the season with six straight wins, marking the Trojans’ best start since the 2010 squad began the campaign with seven consecutive victories after having its first five games washed out due to inclement weather.
The Trojans hot start has fostered South Atlantic Conference accolades, as freshman hurler Lauren Rudesheim was named SAC Pitcher of the Week following the opening weekend and senior shortstop Abby Child earned SAC Player of the Week this past Tuesday.
Child leads the SAC with 12 RBI, ranks second in total hits (11), third in doubles (3), fourth in batting average (.611), fifth in on-base percentage (.636) and slugging percentage (1.111). Teammate Danielle Swygert is batting .529 and has an on-base percentage of .579, which ranks seventh and 10th, respectively in the league.
All-America second baseman Jessica Neidigh boasts a .421 batting average and is second on the team with a .579 on-base percentage. The left-handed hitting leadoff hitter has hit safely in all six games and ranks seventh in the SAC with her nine runs scored. She has three doubles and is a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases on the early season. Center fielder Molly Child has eight hits in 19 at-bats, including two home runs and a pair of doubles on the season. The sophomore leads the league in runs scored (10) and is hitting at a .421 clip.
In the circle, Rudesheim is tied for third in the conference with her three victories and is ninth in ERA (1.00), while holding opponents to a .146 batting average. Freshman right-hander Augie Pena (1-0) is tied for third in strikeouts per contest, averaging 8.75 K’s a game, while junior hurler Katelynn Howser is a perfect 2-0 on the season with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings of work.
The Lady Bulldogs
South Carolina State concluded the 2013 season with a 16-27 overall record and 4-10 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
Third-year head coach Tonja Braxton’s Lady Bulldogs will be coming off a seven-day layoff after opening the season with a 2-2 mark at the 2014 Hampton Jordan Classic hosted by Claflin University.
S.C. State opened the tournament by rallying for a 7-5 victory over Alabama A&M, with the Lady Bulldogs of S.C. State recording eight hits, including a home run by senior Kelsey Grochow. Georgia Southwestern hurlers no-hit the Lady Bulldogs and took advantage of three SCSU errors in the second game, as GSW earned a 9-1 win in five innings past S.C. State.
S.C. State saw Limestone rally for four runs in the sixth inning and take a 4-2 decision past the Lady Bulldogs on day two of the tourney, with SCSU coming from behind to defeat St. Augustine's, 7-4, in the final game of the tournament.
Sunday afternoon’s twin bill is the home-opener for the Bulldogs. First-pitch versus S.C. State is slated for 1 p.m. at Lady Bulldogs Softball Field on the campus of S.C. State.
The Series vs. South Carolina State
Last season’s matchups in Orangeburg marked the first-ever meetings in school history between the two programs, with AU claiming a sweep by scores of 4-0 and 3-0.
Third baseman Bri Cason was 3-for-5 with a double in the sweep, while Swygert went 3-for-6 with a home run, a double and four RBI on the afternoon.