GREENWOOD, S.C. – Stellar pitching and solid hitting lifted the 21st-ranked Anderson softball team to a 6-0 and 11-0 sweep past Lander in nonconference action Thursday evening at Doug Spears Field.
With the sweep, Anderson (10-0) wrapped up a four-game road swing by continuing its hot start to the season, and is off to a school-record win streak to open the campaign. The Trojans snapped a four-game skid at the hands of the Bearcats, who fell to 2-10 on the season and have dropped four straight.
The 2012 Trojan squad posted a school-record 15 consecutive victories after dropping two decisions to Lander to open that season.
“This was the most solid we have played thus far,” said Anderson head coach Tommy Hewitt. “Our pitching staff may have pitched their best yet. It was a solid performance by all 13 of our players.”
Anderson 6, Lander 0
The Trojans out-hit Lander, 8-5, in the opener, as senior Abby Child belted her third home run of the season - a three-run shot in the second inning, while also adding a double and a walk in four trips to the plate. Second baseman Jessica Neidigh reached base three times in four at-bats, with a pair of singles and was hit by an errant pitch in the fifth inning. The swift-footed junior also swiped two bases and improved to 7-for-7 in stolen bases on the season. Senior Danielle Swygert was 1-for-3, with a run-scoring single in the first inning and also scored once, while stretching her hitting streak to seven contests. Senior Charlotte Sieber added a second-inning double and scored once, with sophomore Molly Child tallying a single in her first trip to the plate.
Freshman hurler Lauren Rudesheim improved to 5-0 on the season with the complete-game shutout. The right-hander scattered five hits over seven innings, while striking out three and not walking a batter. She allowed just one Bearcat runner to reach scoring position on the afternoon.
Anderson sent seven batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and capitalized on three singles and a double with just one out to score three runs.
The Trojans batted around in the second frame and added three more runs, as Abby Child lifted a two-out home run beyond the center field fence to give Anderson a 6-0 cushion.
Working with the lead, Rudesheim limited the Bearcats to a single in each of the first four innings. Lander threatened in the bottom of the sixth on freshman Destiny Clyde’s one-out triple to right, but Rudesheim erased the threat with a pop-out and a strikeout.
Anderson 11, Lander 0 (5 innings)
Abby Child extended her hitting streak to eight games with a 3-for-3 performance in the nightcap. The veteran shortstop blasted her second home run in as many games, and added a pair of doubles to drive in three runs. Freshman Courtney Czentnar ripped her second homer of the season over the fence down the left-field line to cap a 2-for-3 night, with Molly Child going 1-for-3 and recording two RBI. Neidigh reached base twice and scored both times after being hit by a pitch on both occasions.
Junior Katelynn Howser went 3 2/3 innings in the circle and improved to 3-0 on the season, while striking out three and allowing just one hit. Freshman right-hander Augie Pena threw 1 1/3 innings in relief and struck out one.
Swygert drew a bases-loaded walk with no outs in the top of the first inning to give AU a quick 1-0 edge, but Lander pitcher Taylor Crawford escaped further damage by striking out the next three Trojan hitters.
Anderson broke the game open by sending 12 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs in the third inning to take a 9-0 lead. Abby Child’s homer and two-run double highlighted the frame, while Molly Child drove in a pair of runs with her one-out single to right.
The Trojans tacked on two additional runs in the fourth frame, as Czentnar pulled a lead-off homer down the line in left field. Howser and Rebecca Martin followed with one-out walks, with Howser crossing the plate when Rudesheim lined out sharply to third.
The combination of Howser and Pena in the circle did not allow a base runner in the final two innings.
Anderson opens a season-high eight-game homestand when the Trojans welcome Georgia College to Smethers Field for a Saturday afternoon doubleheader. First-pitch versus the Bobcats is scheduled for 1 p.m.