ANDERSON, S.C. – A pair of walk-off home runs, first from sophomore Molly Child, then off the bat of junior Rebecca Martin, lifted the 21st-ranked Anderson University softball team to a 7-5 and 11-10 sweep past GRU Augusta in nonconference action Tuesday afternoon at Smethers Field.
The potent Trojan offense belted six home runs and three doubles on the afternoon, including Child’s two-run shot with no outs in the bottom of the seventh in game one, and Martin’s leadoff round-tripper in the final frame of the nightcap. Both Child and Martin ripped a pair of homers in the twin bill.
Anderson (15-1) has won five-of-six during its current eight-game homestand and has claimed four victories straight past GRU Augusta, which fell to 7-11 on the season with the losses.
“It was great to finally get those two wins,” said Anderson head coach Tommy Hewitt. “We could very easily have lost both games.”
Anderson 7, GRU Augusta 5
Molly Child was 1-for-3 in the opener, with the two-run homer and was also hit by a pitch, while junior Jessica Neidigh added a pair of singles in four at-bats and scored twice. Junior Bri Cason was 1-for-3, with a three-run double in the sixth inning, with catcher Laura Jansky adding a two-run single in the sixth inning.
Junior Katelynn Howser earned the win with 4 2/3 innings of relief. The right-hander struck out five and walked two, while allowing just one hit.
Molly Child’s walk-off two-run home run beyond the right-center field fence with no outs in the bottom of the seventh also plated Neidigh, who led off the inning by pulling a single through the right side of the infield.
The Lady Jags took an early lead with two runs in the top of the first inning and added three additional runs in the third inning.
Trailing by five heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Trojans’ bats woke up, as AU sent 10 batters to the plate en route to plating five runs with two outs. Neidigh ignited the comeback with a one-out single – the Trojans’ first of the contest – and four batters later Jansky ripped a single to left to bring home both Neidigh and Abby Child, who earlier drew a walk. With the bases loaded, Cason doubled to the fence in left-center to plate three more runs and even the score at five apiece.
With stellar defense behind her, Howser set GRU Augusta down in order in the top of the seventh inning to set up Child’s heroics in the bottom of the frame.
Anderson 11, GRU Augusta 10
Martin ripped a pair of solo homers, including the game-winner over the left-field fence, while Jansky recorded a one-out grand slam in the second inning. Molly Child was 2-for-3 in the nightcap, including a solo homer in the fifth inning. Senior shortstop Abby Child finished the game 2-for-3 and scored twice, with Neidigh adding a home run and a walk in four trips to the plate.
Howser (7-0) earned her second win of the day after surrendering four runs (three earned) on six hits over 4 1/3 innings of relief. She struck out three and walked two.
Neidigh set the tone early as the second baseman led off the slugfest by notching her third home run of the season. Freshman Courtney Czentnar’s two-out double to right gave AU a quick 3-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Neidigh crossed the plate on Abby Child’s sharply-hit single back up the middle and with the bases loaded, Jansky lifted a shot over the fence in center field for a gram slam, giving the Trojans an 8-0 cushion.
But the Lady Jags answered with seven runs in the top of the third frame, trimming Anderson’s lead to just one. Each team plated a run in the fifth inning, courtesy of solo home runs, and with the Trojans holding a 10-8 lead in the seventh inning, GRU Augusta rallied with a pair of runs to even the score.
Martin answered for the Trojans by leading off the bottom of the seventh with her third homer of the season and second of the afternoon.
After a day off, Anderson will get back on the diamond Thursday, when the Trojans play host to Young Harris. First-pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Smethers Field.