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Softball stays in winner's bracket with 4-3 victory over Southwestern

JACKSON, Tenn.—Five of the combined seven runs scored by Southwestern and Birmingham-Southern in game three of the SCAC Softball Tournament came off two swings of the bat with each team posting a multi-run homerun in the game. BSC scored in the bottom of the sixth to claim the lead and hand SU a 4-3 loss.

BSC, the top seed in the East Division, moves to 31-8 on the season, while the Pirates, the second seed in the West, fall to 24-17.

A two-run homerun by junior Brittany Berkopec in the first inning gave the Panthers an early 2-0 lead, shocking the Pirates at the outset of the game.

A trio of infield singles loaded the bases for Southwestern with one out in the top of the second, giving them an opportunity to even the count. BSC's hurler, senior Ronni Ferris, got out of the jam with two consecutive strikeouts to allow the Panthers to keep the 2-0 lead.

BSC added to their lead in the second on an RBI grounder to the right side to bring in freshman Joanna Jernigan to put the Panthers up 3-0.

One swing from Haley Hughes brought the game back even in the third. Taylor Turpinled off with a single and advanced to third on a single to right field by Kaitlyn Pavlicek. Pavlicek stole second, putting two runners in scoring position for power-hitter Haley Hughes. It turned out that it didn't matter where the runners were as Hughes hit a shot to left field that the crowd knew was out of the park as soon as it left her bat, tying the game at 3-3.

Defenses took control as the game wound to a conclusion, with sporadic base runners and no real threat to score from either team through five and a half. Birmingham-Southern took control after junior Danielle Rucker reached on a walk and stole second base to move into scoring position with two outs. Senior Ashley Bice drove a fastball into centerfield to bring in the go-ahead run for BSC 4-3 with one inning to play.

Southwestern managed to get runners on base but as was the case most of the game had trouble bringing them in as they fell 4-3.

Pavlicek garnered the loss despite a strong outing, allowing two runs on six hits. Freshman Bethany Fronk earned the win with 3.2 innings on the mound, allowing no runs and one hit.

Turpin and Hughes both posted two hit games while three Panthers - Bice and freshmen Erin Lopez and Taylor Bassett - recorded two hits each.

The Panthers move on to face Trinity, the top seed in the West Division, tomorrow at 2 p.m.