MARS HILL, N.C. – Led by sophomore Molly Child’s six-hit afternoon, Anderson recorded 28 hits, including five home runs, as the Trojans split a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader with Mars Hill, winning the opener, 14-11, and dropping the nightcap, 9-8, Thursday afternoon at Ponder Field.
Anderson moved to 21-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play, while Mars Hill (13-9, 1-3 SAC) improved to 7-1 at home on the season with the split.
“We fought real hard to come back and win the first game after never giving up,” said Anderson head coach Tommy Hewitt. “In the second game, when your offense scores eight runs you should win.”
Anderson 14, Mars Hill 11
Junior Bri Cason was 3-for-4 in the opener, with a pair of singles and a double. She also scored once and drove in a run. Junior Rebecca Martin belted her sixth home run of the season and added two singles, while scoring three times and recording a pair of RBI. Molly Child was 2-for-4 with her seventh round-tripper of the season, while adding a walk and crossing the plate three times. Senior outfielder Charlotte Sieber posted a pair of singles in four trips to the plate, with senior Danielle Swygert notching a three-run home run in the third inning. Junior Jessica Neidigh ripped a two-run homer in the sixth inning – her sixth of the season. Freshman Courtney Czentnar chipped in a two-run single in the sixth inning.
Freshman Augie Pena (4-1) collected the win after tossing 4 2/3 innings of relief. The right-hander surrendered three earned runs on five hits, while striking out two Lions and walking five.
Anderson rallied twice for the win, as the Trojans outhit Mars Hill, 15-12, in the slugfest. After seeing the Lions score twice in the first inning and adding three more in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead, the Trojans evened the contest with five runs in the top of the third. Martin led off the inning with a shot over the left-field fence and Abby Child brought home Cason with a two-out single back up the middle. Swygert followed by adding her three-run homer with two outs to plate both Molly Child and Abby Child.
While neither team managed to push a run across in the fourth or fifth frames, the Trojans sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the sixth and erupted for eight runs, taking a 13-8 advantage. Neidigh’s two-run blast to center field highlighted the inning, while Molly Child added a solo homer beyond the fence in left-center. Czentnar also drove in a pair of runs with a two-out single.
Mars Hill countered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to trim AU’s lead to three, but the Trojans added another insurance run in the top of the seventh frame. The Lions’ Jamie Booze led off the bottom of the final inning with a single, but Pena retired the next three batters, including two on strikeouts, to end the threat.
Mars Hill 9, Anderson 8
Molly Child was a perfect 4-for-4 in the nightcap, with two doubles and a pair of singles. The center fielder also drove in two runs and scored twice. Senior Abby Child was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and also reached on an error. Cason added a walk and a two-run home run, her third of the season, in the decisive seventh inning.
Freshman Lauren Rudesheim (9-4) suffered the loss after allowing nine runs (six earned) off 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. She struck out four batters and walked 11.
Anderson took an early 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first inning, but Mars Hill answered with two runs in each of the first two innings to claim a 4-1 lead. The Trojans trimmed the deficit to one with a pair of runs in the third inning and knotted the score at 4-4 with a solo run in the fifth.
The Trojans garnered a two-run lead with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, but the Lions countered with two runs in the bottom of the inning and the two teams went to the seventh tied at 6-6. With two outs in the top of the seventh, pinch hitter Carly Hudson coaxed a walk and Cason followed with her homer over the fence in left-center, giving AU an 8-6 edge.
Mars Hill senior Shaundee Woosley led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk and moved into scoring position when freshman Cori Dew singled. One out later, senior Jamie Hockaday brought Woosley home with a single up the middle and junior Aieshia Peek followed with a walk to load the bases. After Rudesheim retired Booze on strikes, senior Brittany Gibson ripped a walk-off two-run double to center field.
Anderson returns home to host conference opponent Newberry on Saturday, with first-pitch versus the Wolves set for 2 p.m. As part of the AU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s “Wish Week”, a local Make-A-Wish recipient, Keiden Howard, will throw out the first pitch. Between games of the twin bill, the softball team will also host Military Appreciation Day, recognizing veterans who are in attendance.