ANDERSON, S.C. – After well-deserved nine-day layoff, the 17th-ranked Anderson softball team returns to the diamond this weekend, as the Trojans hit the road for six games in three days, traveling to Fort Valley on Sunday, Georgia Southwestern on Monday and Clark Atlanta on Tuesday. First-pitch versus the Wildcats is set for 1 p.m.
The Trojans improved to 16-2 with a doubleheader split with Young Harris on Feb. 27, as Anderson is off to the best start in school history, surpassing the 2012 squad’s 15-2 record.
Senior shortstop Abby Child is second in the South Atlantic Conference with her .479 batting average and leads the league with 23 runs scored, 18 walks, slugging percentage (1.000), on-base percentage (.621) and is tied with sophomore Molly Child for the league lead with six home runs. She is riding a three-game hitting streak and ranks in the top three in three additional offensive categories.
Senior first baseman Danielle Swygert is fifth in the league with her .455 batting average, ranks fourth with 25 hits, and is ninth in both runs scored (16) and 11th with 16 RBI.
Molly Child is hitting .397 and has six homers, while driving in 20 runs on the season. The left-hander is tied with Swygert with five doubles and has drawn eight walks on the season, while currently on a four-game hitting streak. Second baseman Jessica Neidigh is hitting .367 with four round-trippers, four doubles and 12 RBI and the junior is a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen bases on the season. Freshman Courtney Czentnar boasts an impressive .366 batting average with three doubles and a pair of home runs. The outfielder has also been successful on the base paths, recording four stolen bases in four attempts. Junior Rebecca Martin is hitting .348, with three home runs and two doubles on the season.
As a team, the Trojans rank either first or second in the South Atlantic Conference in 12 offensive categories.
In the circle, junior hurler Katelynn Howser (7-0) and freshman Lauren Rudesheim (7-1) are tied for sixth in the conference in total wins. Along with rookie Augie Pena, the trio has recorded 105 strikeouts and has issued just 32 free passes in 113 innings.
Fort Valley, a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, is looking for its first win of the season after starting the season with 21 consecutive losses, including four in SIAC action. Two of the losses were at home to South Atlantic Conference-member Carson-Newman, 15-1 and 9-1, in early February. FVSU is coming off a pair of setbacks, 14-0 and 16-3, to Barry University last Wednesday at Wildcat Field.
Freshman outfielder Asia Buckner leads the Wildcat offense with a .340 batting average and tops the team with a .472 slugging percentage, while recording four RBI on the season. In the circle, junior Alexis Ricks has made 21 appearances, including 18 starts and has 54 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings, while issuing 81 free passes.
Georgia Southwestern posted a record-setting season last year. While going 29-26 last season, the Lady Hurricanes earned a program-most nine Peach Belt Conference victories and earned a seventh-place finish in the PBC, which was GSW’s best finish in seven seasons in the league.
The Lady’ Canes were a preseason selection to finish ninth in the Peach Belt Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll after their record-setting season and returned seven seniors for the 2014 campaign, including All-PBC Second-Team selection Hayley Knight, and junior outfielder Rachel McElroy, who earned Honorable Mention All-PBC accolades a year ago. Last season, Knight ranked 13th in the PBC with her .353 batting average.
Georgia Southwestern sports a 12-6 record this season as the Lady Hurricanes have won three straight and five of their last six entering a conference doubleheader on the road at UNC Pembroke on Sunday before returning home to host the Trojans a day later.
Knight currently boasts a .409 batting average with 18 hits in 44 at-bats and the Leesburg, Ga. native has swiped eight bases this season. Senior second baseman Mason Moreland is tied for third in the conference with 11 stolen bases, while third baseman Jordan Miller is hitting .375 and has driven in 11 runs.
Clark Atlanta, also members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, is 6-6 on the season prior to squaring off against Claflin, Benedict and Paine College before playing host to the Trojans at Lady Panthers Softball Field on Tuesday.
CAU advanced to the SIAC Tournament a year ago en route to posting a 23-20 overall record.
The Series vs. Fort Valley State
The Trojans and Wildcats have met just twice, with Anderson sweeping a twin bill, 8-1 and 17-0, from the Wildcats last season.
Molly Child was 3-for-5 in last season’s matchups, including a pair of doubles, while Neidigh was 4-for-7 with a home run and scored three times. Abby Child was 3-for-6 with two RBI and a pair of walks. Swygert added three hits and three RBI, while Jansky posted two singles and crossed the plate three times. Charlotte Sieber chipped in a pair of singles and drove in a run on the afternoon.
The Series vs. Georgia Southwestern
The Trojans and Lady Canes have met 14 times, with the overall series deadlocked at 7-7. AU has won three straight in the series, including a sweep of last season’s doubleheader at Smethers Field.
Third baseman Bri Cason was 5-for-6 with two doubles and three RBI in the sweep, while Sieber was 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI. Neidigh added four singles, including a triple, with Swygert notching two doubles and a single in six trips to the plate. Jansky recorded three hits, inclusing a home run and a double, while Abby Child was 2-for-4 and walked three times on the afternoon.
The Series vs. Clark Atlanta
Tuesday’s matchups will be the first-ever meetings between the two programs.