HARROGATE, Tenn. – Senior shortstop Abby Child slammed two home runs and senior first baseman Danielle Swygert ripped a two-run double and a single, as No. two seed Anderson rolled past third-seeded Wingate, 7-3, on the second day of action at the 2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament, Friday afternoon at Lincoln Memorial’s Dorothy Neely Field.
Anderson (40-10) earned its fifth consecutive victory has won 16 of its last 17 contests, as the Trojans advance to face either eighth-seeded Catawba or fourth-seeded Tusculum, who were slated to meet following the Trojans/Bulldogs contest. First-pitch from Neely Field on Saturday is set for 2:30 p.m. With the victory, the 2014 edition of Trojan softball has equaled last season’s school record for wins in a season.
Wingate fell to 33-17 with its first loss in four outings, while slipping into the tourney’s elimination bracket and will face top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne, which eliminated the host Lady Railsplitters earlier in the day, later Friday afternoon at the Middlesboro (Ky.) High School field.
With the game delayed for an hour in the fourth inning due to a rain storm, the Trojans out-hit Wingate 10-7 on the afternoon, while the two teams combined to strand 17 base runners. The senior tandem of Child and Swygert accounted for four hits, five RBI and a pair of runs scored. With the two home runs, Child has now tied her sister, Molly, for the league-lead in round-trippers, as each has belted 13 homers on the season. Child finished the afternoon 2-for-3, with three RBI and crossed the plate twice. Swygert has hit safely in nine of the Trojans’ last 10 contests and has driven in 18 runs in the 10-game span. The left-hander was 2-for-4 on the afternoon and recorded a pair of RBI. Senior Bri Cason stretched her hitting streak to three games with a pair of singles and has hit safely in 11 of AU’s last 12 games. Junior outfielder Rebecca Martin was 2-for-4 with a single and a double and also scored once.
Junior pitcher Katelynn Howser improved to 17-5 on the season, as the right-hander tossed her team-high 11th complete game. She allowed three earned runs, while walking four Bulldogs and striking out three. The Woodstock, Ga. native has claimed wins in nine of her last 10 decisions.
Wingate sophomore Taylor Laskey went 1-for-2 with a double, two RBI and a run scored to lead the Bulldog attack. Senior designated player Kayla Saliga added a double and an RBI, while junior shortstop Alexis Burrell added a pair of hits for the Bulldogs.
Wingate jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Sophomore infielder Mellena Helms started the game with a single, then went to second on a walk. A two-run double to center from Laskey put the 'Dogs on the board. Saliga followed with an RBI double down the left field line to put Wingate on top by three. But it was the last time Wingate would cross the plate on the afternoon, as Howser limited the Bulldogs to just three singles over the final six frames.
After Molly Child was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the first inning, Abby Child ripped her 12th homer of the campaign beyond the fence in center field to trim the deficit to 3-2.
Martin led off the second inning with her sixth double of the season and crossed the plate with the tying run on junior Jessica Neidigh’s one-out sacrifice fly to center field. Abby Child, who holds the school record for career home runs, gave the Trojans a lead they would not relinquish, at 4-3, with a leadoff homer to left in the third inning.
The Bulldogs threatened in the top of the fourth with a pair of singles, but came away empty-handed, while Cason led off the home fourth inning with the first of her two singles. Three batters later, Molly Child reached base on a fielder’s choice and Abby Child followed with a walk to load the bases with two outs. Swygert, who was 0-for-2 in her first two at-bats, ripped a two-run double to the gap in left-center to plate both Cason and Molly Child with a pair of insurance runs to boost AU’s advantage to 6-3.
Anderson added another run in the fifth, as Cason again led off with a single and eventually crossed the plate when Molly Child pulled a two-out single through the right side to set the final score.