ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University softball team continued its hot start on the season by blanking Conference Carolinas-opponent Limestone, 9-0 and 2-0, Sunday afternoon at Smethers Field.
Anderson (13-1) out-hit the visitors 14-4 on the afternoon, as the Trojans claimed the first meetings between the two programs since AU move to the South Atlantic Conference for the 2011 campaign. Limestone dropped to 8-4 and is 2-4 in its last six outings after sweeping a doubleheader from Emmanuel Saturday afternoon.
“Anytime you win two against a good team and go 7-1 in a week you are playing pretty good softball,” said Anderson head coach Tommy Hewitt. “But we have to learn to scrap in the second game [of our doubleheaders] like these other teams are doing. That will make us a better softball team.”
Anderson 9, Limestone 0 (5 innings)
Senior first baseman Danielle Swygert was 2-for-3 in the opener, with an RBI and scored twice, while junior Jessica Neidigh added a pair of singles in three trips to the plate and scored once. Senior Laura Jansky blasted her first home run of the season, a three-run shot over the left-center field fence, while sophomore centerfielder Molly Child also belted a three-run homer down the right-field line and scored twice.
Anderson pitcher Lauren Rudesheim improved to 6-0 on the season by tossing four full innings, while limiting the Saints to just one hit. The right-hander struck out two and walked one. Freshman Augie Pena threw an inning of relief and struck out the side in the top of the fifth inning.
The pair of 3-run homers propelled Anderson to the win, as the Trojans opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Molly Child and Abby Child drew back-to-back one out walks, with Swygert plating Molly Child when she pulled a single to right field. After moving to third on the single, Abby Child raced home on a passed ball to give the Trojans a quick 2-0 lead. With Swygert in scoring position, freshman Courtney Czentnar drilled a double to left to bring home Swygert with AU’s third run of the inning.
Anderson batted around and added six runs in the bottom of the second frame, with Molly Child and Jansky each recording three-run homers in the inning.
Defensively, Rudesheim did not allow a base runner until a two-out walk in the third and held the Saints without a hit until the fourth inning.
Anderson 2, Limestone 0
Swygert was 2-for-3 in the nightcap, with a double and a run-scoring single, while junior Kalelynn Howser helped her cause in the circle with a double and scored a run. Neidigh added a single and a stolen base in the decisive fifth inning, with Czentnar adding a double and senior Charlotte Sieber notching a sixth-inning double.
Howser (5-0) earned her first career complete-game shutout in the Black and Gold, as the hard-throwing right-hander struck out eight Saints and walked just two, while allowing two hits.
The second contest was a pitchers’ duel through four innings, as the hurlers combined to allow just three hits and seven base runners through the opening four innings.
The Trojans gave Howser all the run support she needed with a pair of runs in the fifth frame. She led off the bottom of the inning by pulling a double down the left-field line and moved to third on Neidigh’s infield single. Molly Child brought Howser home with the eventual winning run with a sacrifice fly to right and Swygert’s two-out single through the right side plated Neidigh with AU’s second run of the inning.
Limestone threatened in the top of the sixth inning when sophomore Caroline Childers led off the inning with a bloop single to left. But Howser retired the next three Saints to erase the threat.
The Saints were poised to rally in their final at-bat when freshman Tori Noland led off with a single to left and one of Howser’s pitches to the ensuing batter ricocheted off AU Jansky’s glove behind the plate. Noland left for second base, but Jansky fired to Abby Child covering second in time for the putout. Limestone’s Amanda Hayes followed with a walk but Howser recorded a strikeout and induced the final Saints’ hitter to hit a soft liner to Child at short.
Anderson continues its season-high eight-game homestand by welcoming GRU Augusta to Smethers Field on Tuesday. First-pitch is slated for 2 p.m