ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University softball team dropped the opening game of a crucial South Atlantic Conference doubleheader, 4-1, to Brevard, but bounced back to claim the nightcap, 14-3, Wednesday afternoon at Smethers Field.
In a rare occurrence while playing on their home field, the Trojans were the visiting team on the scoreboard because the game was originally slated to be played at Brevard, but was moved due unplayable field conditions in the Tar Heel State.
Anderson (36-10, 14-6 SAC) had its 11-game win streak snapped in the opener, but with the win in the second contest, the Trojans have now won 15 of their last 18 outings. Anderson has won six of eight meetings all-time with Brevard (20-23, 9-9 SAC), which saw its win streak halted at seven with the AU victory in game two.
Brevard 4, Anderson 1
Senior Charlotte Sieber was the lone Trojan to muster multiple hits in the opener, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, while junior Jessica Neidigh added a single and scored AU’s lone run. Senior first baseman Danielle Swygert notched an RBI-single, while freshman Courtney Czentnar and junior Bri Cason also recorded singles.
Junior hurler Katelynn Howser, the reigning SAC Pitcher of the Week, surrendered four runs (three earned), on five hits, while striking out one and not walking a batter. The right-hander saw her personal win streak halted at six with the setback.
Neidigh led off the contest with a single to the left side of the infield and scored on Swygert’s two-out single back up the middle, but it proved to be the final time the Trojans would plate a run in the contest.
The Tornados posted all the runs they would need in the bottom of the first inning on sophomore Kinsey Parrish’s two-out, two-run homer over the left-field fence. Anderson threatened in the top if the sixth inning, getting Abby Child and Czentnar aboard with one out, but the Trojans were unable to capitalize and stranded eight base runners in the opener.
Brevard countered with a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4-1 lead on senior Alyssa Miller’s solo home run and senior Emily Boykin’s two-out single.
AU again threatened in their final at-bat, as Cason reached on an error and Sieber pulled a single down the left-field line, but Brevard pitcher Jamie Hrobak escaped the jam with three consecutive outs to improve to 15-8 on the season.
Anderson 14, Brevard 3 (5 innings)
Czentnar was 3-for-4 in the nightcap, with a pair of singles and her 11th home run of the season. She drove in a pair of runs and score three times. Neidigh tallied three singles, two RBI and a pair of runs scored, while Swygert added three singles in four trips to the plate. Sophomore Molly Child blasted her second grand slam of the season, marking her league-leading 13th home run of the campaign. Cason, the reigning conference player of the week, extended her hitting streak to eight games with a fourth-inning RBI-single. She also garnered a first-inning walk. Jansky posted a pair of walks in the nightcap.
Freshman Lauren Rudesheim (15-4) earned the win in the circle, tossing four innings and allowing a pair of earned runs on three hits, while walking two. Fellow freshman Augie Pena threw an inning of relief and surrendered one earned run on two hits, while striking out a pair of Tornados.
The Trojan bats woke up in the opening inning of the nightcap, as AU sent 12 batters to the plate and pounded out five hits, including Molly Child’s grand slam. Anderson also took advantage of five walks issued by the Tornados in the first inning to build a 9-0 advantage after a half-inning.
Brevard countered with a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the first inning to trim AU’s lead to 9-2. Neither team was able to plate a run in either the second or third innings, with the Trojans putting the game further out of reach with four runs in the top of the fourth inning, as AU sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame and five came away with singles to boost the lead to 13-2.
Czentnar lifted her solo home run beyond the left-field fence with one out in the top of the fifth and Parrish’s two out RBI-triple in the bottom of the inning set the final margin.
Anderson closes out the regular season on Saturday, when the Trojans visit South Atlantic Conference-newcomer Coker. First-pitch versus the Cobras in Hartsville, S.C. is scheduled for 1 p.m.