HARROGATE, Tenn. – Second-seeded Anderson escaped a two-out bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to claim a 4-3 win past No. 7 seed Carson-Newman in opening-round action of the 2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament, Thursday afternoon at Lincoln Memorial’s Dorothy Neely Field.
Anderson (39-10) won its fourth straight and has claimed 15 of its last 16 outings, as the Trojans advance to face third-seeded Wingate, which defeated sixth-seeded Brevard, 6-0, earlier in the day. First-pitch from Neely Field on Friday is set for 10 a.m.
Carson-Newman (32-17) saw its win streak halted at two and with the loss, the Eagles drop into the tourney’s elimination bracket and will face Brevard on Friday at 12:30 p.m. at the Middlesboro (Ky.) High School field.
Carson-Newman out-hit the Trojans, 12-8, on the afternoon, but the Eagles stranded 10 base runners over the seven-inning contest, while the Trojans countered with four extra-base hits in their eight-hit tally.
Senior first baseman Danielle Swygert continued her hot hitting by going 2-for-3 at the plate and scored once, while junior Rebecca Martin added a single and a walk in three trips to the plate. Senior catcher Laura Jansky posted a run-scoring double in the fourth inning and walked in the sixth, with junior Bri Cason belting a two-out, two-run triple in the second frame. Senior Charlotte Sieber drove in the eventual game-winning run with a two-out double in the fourth inning.
Junior hurler Katelynn Howser (16-5) has won eight of her last nine decisions and earned the complete-game win by allowing just three earned runs on 12 hits. The right-hander struck out six and walked just one.
Carson-Newman threatened in the top of the first inning, as the Eagles loaded the bases with no outs, but Howser worked out of the jam by retiring the heart of the Carson-Newman order.
Junior second baseman Jessica Neidigh answered for the Trojans by leading off the bottom of the frame with a single and promptly swiped her league-leading 25th base of the season. But the AU threat was erased when Neidigh was thrown out at third trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt.
The Eagles threatened for the second time in as many innings, but were unable to capitalize on a one-out error, while Swygert led off the bottom of the second inning by going the opposite way with a single through the left side, and one out later, Martin beat out an infield single to the right side to put runners on first and second. Two batters later, Cason followed with a clutch two-out triple to the fence in right-center to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles quickly countered by leveling the score at two apiece on shortstop Brittany Hefner’s one-out homer to left in the top of the third, while Martin drew a one-out walk in the fourth and crossed the plate for the second time of the afternoon on senior Laura Jansky’s double down the left-field line. The Trojans increased their lead to 4-2 when Sieber doubled to the fence in right-center to plate Jansky, while Sieber was thrown out at third to end the inning trying to stretch her double into a triple.
C-N threatened again in the top of the fifth, and took advantage of a double and a pair of singles to trim Anderson’s lead to 4-3 on Caitlyn Lance’s single to center. Swygert led off the bottom of the sixth with a double and moved to third on Martin’s fly out to right, while Jansky followed with a two-out walk to put runners at the corners, but Carson-Newman escaped with no damage.
The Eagles’ Elayna Siebert and Sara Kelley opened the Carson-Newman seventh inning with back-to-back singles to get the tying run in scoring position with no outs on the board. Freshman Jeanie Marie Perrucci came in to pinch run for Siebert and was out at third when Hefner bounced to Cason at the hot corner. Kelley went to third on junior Hayley Taylor’s two-out infield single, giving C-N the tying run at third and the winning run at second. But Brittany Bass lined out to Swygert at first to give AU its first conference tourney win since defeating the Eagles in the 2012 tournament.