ORANGEBURG, S.C. – Paced by senior Danielle Swygert and freshman Courtney Czentnar at the plate, the Anderson softball team began a stretch of eight games in seven days by sweeping NCAA Division I foe South Carolina State, 10-2 and 7-1, in a nonconference twinbill Monday afternoon at the Lady Bulldogs Softball Field.
“[South Carolina State] is a much-improved team than we played in the past.” said Anderson head coach Tommy Hewitt. “They swing the bat extremely well. I could tell the snow layoff hampered us at the plate. Our pitchers pitched pretty well.”
Anderson (8-0) is off best start in school history, eclipsing the 2010 squad’s seven consecutive victories to start the season, while improving to 4-0 versus S.C. State, which fell to 2-4 on the season.
Anderson 10, South Carolina State 2 (6 innings)
Czentnar was a perfect 3-for-3 in the opener, with a double and a pair of singles and scored twice. Swygert was 2-for-4, with a single and her first home run of the season. The hard-hitting left-hander crossed the plate twice and drove in three runs. Junior Jessica Neidigh extended her hitting streak to seven games with a pair of singles and she also scored once. Sophomore Molly Child was 1-for-3 on the afternoon with a two-run single in the fifth inning, while senior Charlotte Sieber added a run-scoring double in the fifth.
Freshman Augie Pena (2-0) started in the circle for the Trojans , tossing four complete innings and surrendering just two earned runs on four hits. The right-hander struck out six and walked just one batter. Freshman Katelynn Howser threw two innings and allowed just a sixth-inning single.
The Trojans opened the game by sending 12 batters to the plate in the top of the decisive first inning and scoring six times before recording an out. AU hitters ripped four singles and took advantage of four walks in the opening outburst.
In the circle, Pena held South Carolina State to one single through three innings before the Lady Bulldogs broke through for a pair of runs on the strength of a two-run single off the bat of freshman Jasmine Harris.
Anderson answered with three runs in the top of the fifth, as Czentnar opened the frame with a double and Bri Cason was hit by a pitch for the second straight at-bat. Two batters later, Sieber ripped a one-out double to plate Czentnar, while Molly Child’s clutch two-out single brought home both Cason and Sieber, giving AU a 9-2 advantage heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
Howser retired the Lady Bulldogs in order in the bottom of the frame and Swygert led off the seventh inning with her round-tripper to give the Trojans an eight-run cushion. SCSU’s Harris reached base with a one-out single in the Lady Bulldogs’ last at-bat, but was erased as the AU defense ended the contest with a double play.
Anderson 7, South Carolina State 1
Junior Rebecca Martin was 2-for-3 in the nightcap, with two singles, while Swygert added a single and a triple, while also reaching twice on a pair of S.C. State errors. Senior Abby Child stretched her hitting streak to six games by tallying a single and a pair of walks in four trips to the plate.
Newcomer Lauren Rudesheim improved to 4-0 on the season after going five full innings, while giving up just one hit and striking out four and walking one.
Howser tossed two innings and allowed just one hit, while striking out three and walked one.
Anderson took advantage of five Lady Bulldog errors in the nightcap en route to recording six unearned runs in the contest.
Swygert led off the second inning by reaching on an error, while senior catcher Laura Jansky followed with a walk and Czentnar was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cason then drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Swygert and Jansky scored the Trojans’ second run when Martin bounced out to the shortstop.
SCSU pulled within 2-1 by plating an unearned run in the third, while AU countered with three unearned runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
Rudesheim and Howser combined to limit S.C. State to just one base runner over the final four innings.
Anderson will get back in action Thursday at Lander. First-pitch versus the Bearcats in Greenwood, S.C. is set for 5 p.m.