ANDERSON, S.C. – After wrapping up its nonconference slate with a sweep of archrival Erskine, the Anderson University softball team returns home to welcome South Atlantic Conference opponent Catawba to Smethers Field for a Saturday afternoon doubleheader. First-pitch versus the Indians is slated for 2 p.m.
Anderson (29-9, 7-5 SAC) is currently tied for fourth in the league standings, alongside Catawba (22-11, 7-5 SAC), as both teams are one game behind Lincoln Memorial, two behind second-place Lenoir-Rhyne and trail league-leading Wingate by three games.
The Trojans have reeled off five straight victories and have won eight of their last 10 games, while posting a 15-5 mark at home this season.
As a team, the Trojans lead the South Atlantic Conference in runs scored, home runs, RBI, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, while ranking second in total hits, walks and batting average.
Four of the Trojan hitters continue to rank among the league’s top 10 hitters, with sophomore Molly Child ranking second in the SAC with her .440 batting average. The hard-hitting center fielder leads the league with her .776 slugging percentage and is tied with her sister, Abby, for the league-lead in home runs, with 11 on the season. She ranks second in the conference with her 55 hits, 44 runs scored and fourth in on-base percentage (.510). Molly Child has reached safely in 23 of the last 24 games and her grand slam in Thursday’s nightcap was AU’s second in four contests. Junior Jessica Neidigh ranks fifth in the league and second on the team with a .397 batting average and has reached base safely in four straight games and 19 of AU’s last 21 games. The left-handed leadoff batter is a perfect 19-of-19 in stolen bases on the season, which is tops in the league. Currently second on AU’s all-time career hits list, the Lawrenceville, Ga. native leads the league with 47 runs scored and is fourth in the SAC with 52 hits on the season.
First baseman Danielle Swygert enters Saturday’s doubleheader ninth in the league in hitting at .386 on the strength of a 10-game hitting streak. She has recorded the game-winning RBI in three of the Trojans’ last five victories, including last Sunday’s come-from-behind win over league-leading Wingate. Swygert’s grand slam propelled the Trojans to a 6-3 win past Tusculum last Tuesday and the left-handed hitter followed with a game-winning RBI-single in the nightcap against the Pioneers.
Fellow senior Abby Child is hitting .379 on the season and is tied with sister, Molly, for the league lead with 11 home runs on the season. Earlier this season, Abby Child took over the top spot in AU’s record books for career home runs and now has 43 career round-trippers. She leads the league with 26 walks and ranks second, just behind Molly Child, with her .741 slugging percentage and is in the top-13 in six additional offensive categories.
Junior outfielder Rebecca Martin continues to hit at a career-best .349 clip and has belted a career-best seven home runs on the season, which places her eighth in the SAC. Freshman outfielder Courtney Czentnar is hitting .343 on the season and has reached base safely in 13 of AU’s last 16 games. The Lawrenceville, Ga. is third on the squad with her .667 slugging percentage.
In the circle, freshman hurler Lauren Rudesheim (13-4) has won four straight decisions and is tied for fifth in the conference with her 13 victories, while junior Katelynn Howser (10-4) leads the squad and ranks sixth in the league with her 1.96 ERA. Freshman Augie Pena (6-1) has earned wins in her last four decisions and has struck out 66 batters, including 12 Flying Fleet hitters on Thursday. The right-hander has walked just 16 in 48 1/3 innings of work. Her 9.56 strikeouts per contest rank second in the league.
Catawba (22-11, 7-5 SAC) was a preseason pick to finish fourth in the coaches’ preseason poll after finishing tied for fifth a year ago with a 32-19 overall record and a 10-8 mark in the conference. The Indians garnered one of the 11 first-place votes.
Sophomore hurler Carley Tysinger, the reigning SAC Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, was the league-leader in wins with 25, ERA at 1.21 and strikeouts with 324 last season. She was named Preseason First-Team All-SAC and has already earned SAC Pitcher of the Week accolades three times this season.
Tysinger’s 15 wins on the season ranks third in the league, while the right-hander leads the conference in both strikeouts (205) and strikeouts per contest (11.12). Her 0.98 ERA is second in the SAC and she is holding opponents to a .181 batting average.
The Indians had won eight straight contests before suffering a five-game skid that was halted with a 3-2 win past Queens in the second game of a twin bill last Wednesday. Catawba is an impressive 11-2 at home and has posted an 11-9 record on the road and at neutral sites this season.
The Series vs. Catawba
The Trojans and Indians have met just nine times on the diamond, with all but two of the meetings occurring since Anderson joined the South Atlantic Conference in 2011. Catawba swept the first two doubleheaders in 2009 and 2011, while the Trojans swept last season’s twin bill and have won four of the last five matchups.
In last season’s doubleheader, Jansky was 3-for-7, with a home run and a double, while Bri Cason was 2-for-5 with a double. Abby Child was 3-for-8 with three RBI and Neidigh added three singles.