WINGATE, N.C. – Behind stellar pitching efforts in the circle and a three-run eighth inning, including Danielle Swygert’s go-ahead RBI-single and freshman Courtney Czentnar’s eighth home run of the season, Anderson rallied to split a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader with league-leading Wingate on Sunday afternoon, dropping the opener, 1-0 and winning the nightcap, 5-2, at the WU Softball Complex.
Anderson (25-9, 5-5 SAC) improved to 12-4 on the road this season with its fourth win in six outings, while handing Wingate (26-12, 8-2 SAC) just its second loss at home and second setback in its last 15 games.
Wingate 1, Anderson 0
Junior second baseman Jessica Neidigh notched two of the Trojan’s three hits in the opener, as the leadoff hitter recorded a pair of singles and also reached on a throwing error. Senior first baseman Danielle Swygert tallied Anderson’s only other hit – a single to lead off the sixth inning.
Junior Katelynn Howser (8-4) absorbed the tough-luck loss after surrendering just one run, while scattering three hits in six full innings of work. The right-hander struck out one and walked one.
Anderson threatened in the top of the first inning, loading the bases on an error and back-to-back walks with no outs, but Wingate hurler Stacey Houser (17-5), who leads the league in wins, retired the next three Trojans batters on strikes to get out of the jam.
The Trojans, who stranded nine runners, threatened again in the second inning with senior Laura Jansky working a leadoff walk and moving to third when Neidigh pulled a single through the right side. But Anderson was unable to capitalize and the two teams combined to garner just two base runners in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Swygert led off the sixth inning with a single but was erased on a one-out fielder’s choice, while junior outfielder Rebecca Martin reached third with two outs on the board. AU was unable to push across a run and sophomore Shannen Adams led of the Wingate sixth inning with a single down the right-field line. She moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Mellena Helms and went to third when freshman Olivia Smith bounced out to Neidigh at second. Adams then scored the game’s lone run on a wild pitch.
Neidigh reached first on a one-out single up the middle in the top of the seventh frame, but was erased on a fielder’s choice and the Trojans were unable to plate the tying run.
Anderson 5, Wingate 2 (8 innings)
Swygert was 2-for-3 in the nightcap and extended her hitting streak to six games with an RBI-double in the first inning and what proved to be the game-winning RBI-single in the eighth. Czentnar’s eighth home run of the season, a two-run shot with one out, gave the Trojans some breathing room with a pair of insurance runs. Senior catcher Laura Jansky was 2-for-3, with a pair of singles and a walk.
Freshman pitcher Lauren Rudesheim (12-4) earned the victory by scattering seven hits and allowing two runs (one earned) over eight innings of work. She walked four Bulldogs and struck out two.
Anderson jumped out to a quick one-run advantage on Swygert’s two-out double, but Wingate answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame to even the score.
Wingate captured the lead with a solo run in the bottom of the third frame, with the Trojans leveling the score in the top of the fourth. Rebecca Martin led off the inning with a walk, moved to second on Jansky’s opposite-field single to right and went to third on Bri Cason’s sacrifice bunt. Martin crossed the plate with the tying run on Charlotte Sieber’s sacrifice fly to center field.
Neither team gained the lead until Swygert’s one-out single in the eighth inning brought home sophomore Molly Child with the eventual game-winning run. Czentnar followed with her two-run homer, giving AU a 5-2 advantage.
The Bulldogs threatened in their final at-bat, getting the tying run to the plate with one out, but Rudesheim induced a ground ball to Neidigh at second, who turned a game-ending double play.
Anderson will get back on the diamond quickly, as the Trojans play host to Tusculum on Tuesday. First-pitch versus the Pioneers at Smethers Field is set for 2 p.m.