ANDERSON, S.C. – Host and second-seeded Anderson recorded just five hits on the afternoon, but two of the hits were home runs, as the Trojans held off seventh-seeded Georgia College, 4-3, in opening-round action of the 2014 NCAA Southeast Region Softball Tournament, Friday afternoon at Smethers Field.
The third meeting this season between the two teams saw 17th-ranked Anderson improve to 43-10 on the season with their second win of the campaign over Georgia College, which slipped to 34-16.
Anderson advances to meet No. 3 seed and 19th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State, which blanked USC Aiken, 6-0, earlier Friday afternoon. The Pirates and Trojans will square off at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. Georgia College drops into the elimination bracket and will face the Pacers Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.
Senior Charlotte Sieber reached base in all three of her trips to the plate, drawing a walk and adding a double and a single on the afternoon. Fellow senior Abby Child belted a three-run homer, her 15th of the season, and also tallied a walk, while her sister, Molly added a solo home run – her 14th round-tripper of the campaign.
Junior Katelynn Howser (19-5) earned the win in the circle for the Trojans after surrendering three earned runs, while striking out four Bobcats and walking one in four complete innings of work. Freshman hurler Lauren Rudesheim earned her second save of the season after tossing three innings of relief. She did not allow a run, while walking one and striking out one.
The Trojans jumped out to an early one-run advantage when Molly Child lofted her one-out home run beyond the fence in right field and Abby Child provided the rest of the scoring for the Trojans in the bottom of the third inning. Sieber reached base for the first time of the afternoon with a one-out single to left and two batters later, Molly Child coaxed a two-out walk off Bobcat hurler Carly Lewis (16-10). Abby Child followed by pulling a 1-1 pitch over the left-field fence to boost AU’s lead to 4-0.
But Howser, who did not surrender a hit through the first three frames, ran into trouble in the top of the fourth, as Georgia College quickly answered with three runs of its own. Sophomore Abi LeRoy led off with a single through the right side and sophomore Taylor Campbell plated LeRoy by ripping a double down the right-field line. Two batters later, sophomore Danielle Knight homered over the fence in right to trim AU’s lead to 4-3.
Rudesheim entered in the top of the fifth and surrendered a single and a walk, but settled down to work out of the jam by retiring the next three Bobcat batters. The Trojans returned the favor by threatening in the bottom of the inning when Sieber led off with her ninth double of the season. But Anderson was unable to capitalize, as the designated player was stranded at second.
Rudesheim, with stellar defensive support, then retired six consecutive hitters in the sixth and seventh innings to preserve the win.