ANDERSON, S.C. – Senior Danielle Swygert’s one-out walk-off grand slam propelled the Anderson softball team to a 6-3 victory in the opener, while timely hitting lifted the Trojans to a 4-2 win in the nightcap, as AU swept a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader from Tusculum, Tuesday afternoon at Smethers Field.
Playing its second South Atlantic Conference twin bill in three days, Anderson (27-9, 7-5 SAC) claimed its third straight win, while Tusculum (20-20, 6-6 SAC), the defending South Atlantic Conference regular-season champion, saw its win streak halted at four games.
Anderson 6, Tusculum 3
Swygert finished the opener with the grand slam and a single, while tallying four RBI and one run scored. Fellow senior Abby Child was also 2-for-4, with a pair of RBI-singles and crossed the plate once. Junior second baseman Jessica Neidigh added two singles in four trips to the plate.
Junior hurler Katelynn Howser improved to 9-4 on the season, while tossing her fifth complete game of the campaign. The right-hander surrendered three earned runs on four hits, while striking out four Pioneers and walking two.
The opening game was a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings with Tusculum senior Kelly King limiting the Trojans to five hits over the opening five frames and Howser tossing a no-hitter through five innings.
Neidigh led off the home fifth inning with a sharp single to center, stole second, and scored the game’s first run on Abby Child’s opposite-field single down the right-field line.
The Pioneers’ Paige Sneed quickly tied the score at 1-1 by lofting a home run just beyond the fence in left-center to lead off the sixth inning. Tusculum threatened to gain the lead when sophomore Miranda Beeler reached on a fielder’s choice. Stroinski followed with a two-out single to center, but Beeler was thrown out by Molly Child as she attempted to go from first to third on the single, ending the inning.
Tusculum took a 3-1 advantage with two runs in the top of the seventh, as freshman Tavi Parris earned a one-out walk and junior Nicole Ball homered to left.
Trailing by two, the Trojans’ opened their final at-bat with Cason and senior Charlotte Sieber reaching on back-to-back singles. One out later, Molly Child ripped a single to right, loading the bases and getting the winning run on first. Abby Child followed with a run-scoring single through the left side and pulling AU within 3-2 on the scoreboard to set up Swygert’s heroics. The hard-hitting first baseman pulled an 0-1 pitch over the fence in right field for the game-winning grand slam.
Anderson 4, Tusculum 2
Molly Child was a perfect 3-for-3 in the nightcap, notching three singles, a run scored and an RBI. Junior outfielder Rebecca Martin added a pair of singles in three at-bats, while Swygert increased her hitting streak to eight games with a single.
Freshman Lauren Rudesheim (13-4) earned the win with her team-leading eighth complete game of the season. The newcomer allowed two earned runs, while scattering four hits over the seven innings. She struck out five and walked just one.
The Trojans opened the scoring with an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning, as Neidigh led off the inning by reaching on a bunt single and went all the way to third when the Pioneers threw the ball away trying to throw out the speedy leadoff hitter. Neidigh crossed the plate with the first run of the contest when Molly Child followed with a deep fly to center.
Tusculum countered to take a brief, 2-1, lead with a pair of runs on the strength of junior Kaytlin Stroinski’s fifth home run of the season – a two-run homer over the right-field fence in the top of the fourth frame.
Anderson answered quickly, with senior Laura Jansky reaching on a fielder’s choice and crossing the plate with the game-tying run on Bri Cason’s triple off the fence in left field. The Trojans took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, as AU opened the frame with three straight singles. After Molly Child and Abby Child reached base on back-to-back singles to the outfield, Swygert followed with a single to center, bringing Molly Child home with the eventual game-winning run. With two outs, Jansky singled to left to plate Abby Child with an additional insurance run, boosting the Trojan’s lead to 4-2.
The Pioneers threatened in both the sixth and seventh innings, but the Anderson defense held TC off the scoreboard to earn the sweep.
Anderson returns to the diamond on Thursday, when the Trojans visit archrival Erskine for their final nonconference doubleheader of the season. First-pitch in Due West, S.C. is slated 2 p.m.