ANDERSON, S.C. – Using an 18-5 hitting advantage and stellar pitching, the Anderson University softball team celebrated Senior Day with a pair of shutouts past visiting Queens University of Charlotte, 8-0 and 3-0, in South Atlantic Conference action, Saturday afternoon at Smethers Field.
In the final regular-season twin bill at Smethers Field, Anderson (35-9, 13-5 SAC) won its 11th consecutive game and its 14th in the last 16 outings. Queens saw its win streak halted at four and fell to 19-21 overall and 5-11 in its inaugural season in the conference.
The Trojans finished the regular season with a 19-5 mark in their final season on the historic field, which was originally built as an athletic field in the 1960s, and will make way for AU’s new student center. The 19 victories set a new school record for home wins, surpassing last season’s 18 victories.
Between games of the doubleheader, the Trojans bid farewell to five seniors - Abby Child, Carly Hudson, Laura Jansky, Charlotte Sieber and Danielle Swygert – a senior class that has combined for nearly 800 games played over the past four seasons and earning 135 victories, forming the winningest class in school history.
Anderson 8, Queens 0 (6 innings)
Junior second baseman Jessica Neidigh was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, a walk, two RBI and three runs scored. Junior third baseman Bri Cason added a double and a single, while scoring once. Sophomore Molly Child tallied a single and an RBI-double, with Hudson going 1-for-2 and driving in two runs. Swygert drove in a pair of runs and crossed the plate once.
Junior hurler Katelynn Houser (14-4) earned her sixth consecutive victory by limiting the Royals to two hits, as the right-hander tossed her seventh complete game of the campaign. She struck out three and walked just one and has surrendered just two hits in each of her last three appearances.
Neidigh led off the contest with a walk, moved to third on Abby Child’s single to left-center and crossed the plate on Swygert’s sacrifice fly to left. Freshman Courtney Czentnar then brought home Child with a double to left-center, giving the Trojans an early 2-0 lead.
Anderson added another pair of runs in the third inning, with Hudson garnering a two-out, two-run single to push AU’s advantage to 4-0 after three innings.
Cason led off the bottom of the fourth frame with an opposite-field double, while Sieber followed with a single. Neidigh brought both runners home with her first double of the contest and she later scored when the Royals’ defense misplayed Swygert’s hard-hit grounder with two outs.
After Houser set the top of the Royals’s lineup down in order in the top of the sixth, Neidigh led off the home half of the sixth inning with a double and Molly Child pulled a double to the fence in right field to score Neidigh with the decisive run.
Anderson 3, Queens 0
Abby Child was a perfect 2-for-2 in the nightcap, with a pair of doubles, a run scored and an RBI, with Swygert adding a two-run RBI in the sixth inning. Cason notched a walk and a double in three trips to the plate, as she extended her hitting streak to six games.
Freshman Augie Pena improved to 7-1 with her third complete game of the season, while scattering three hits over seven full innings. The right-hander struck out three Royals and did not issue a walk.
Pena did not allow a base hit until the third inning, while AU claimed a 1-0 edge in the bottom of the frame on Abby Child’s one-out sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.
Queens loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fifth inning, but Pena escaped any damage by inducing a hard-hit chopper back to the circle that she gloved, fired to Jansky covering the plate and on to Swygert at first to complete the double play. Swygert recorded the final unassisted out on a grounder to the right side.
Abby Child led off the sixth inning with a double to left and Swygert followed with her seventh home run of the season beyond the fence in right-center to give the Trojans a pair of insurance runs and a 3-0 advantage.
Pena then set the Royals down in order for the fifth time of the contest in the seventh inning, as the Trojans moved into a tie for the top spot in the conference, alongside Lenoir-Rhyne.
Anderson closes the regular season with a four-game conference road swing, beginning with Brevard on Tuesday. First-pitch versus the Tornados is set for 2 p.m.