Softball takes Millsaps series with two Monday victories

Bethany Fronk (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Bethany Fronk (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

JACKSON, Miss.—A pair of wins over Millsaps College, 7-2 and 7-4, Monday afternoon at Millsaps Softball Complex in Jackson, Miss., propelled Birmingham-Southern to its second-straight conference series win to open the Southern Athletic Association schedule. The Panthers took three of four in the rain-delayed series to improve to 9-9 overall and 6-2 in conference play. Millsaps now stands at 12-5 on the season and 3-5 in the SAA.

A solid effort from BSC in the second inning, both at the plate and in the circle, set the tone for game one. The Panthers, down 1-0 at the start of the second frame, scored quickly when a single from sophomore Maddie Ridgway brought home freshman Amanda Ballew. Three batters later and with the bases loaded, junior Taylor Bassett laced a double down the left field line to bring home Ridgway and junior Hannah Harris. Junior Bethany Fronk also came across courtesy of a Millsaps throwing error.

With a solid 4-1 lead in hand, Fronk (4-7) entered the circle in the bottom of the second with Millsaps runners on first and third. She proceeded to retire the next three batters with a pair of ground outs and a strike out to keep the three-run advantage. In her six innings of relief she would allow two Major hits and surrender only one run while striking out three.

BSC would add another run in the fourth when Fronk's single plated Harris. The final Panther runs of the doubleheader's opening game came in the fifth when a Ballew single scored freshman Torrie Garner. One batter later freshman Taylor Brewer singled home junior Alyssa Statham to bring the Panthers to their seven runs for the contest.

In game two, BSC relied on consistent, steady offensive production to claim an early lead. The Panthers scored a run in each of the first three innings to claim a 3-1 advantage after three innings. A Millsaps run in the fifth cut the lead to 3-2 before BSC used a strong top of the sixth to blow the game wide open. With Ballew on second and freshman Ashley Leonard on third, freshman Alex Skene hit a two-RBI single up the middle to score the two Panther runners. Skene soon found herself crossing home plate after Millsaps committed an error trying to thrown out Ridgway during her successful attempt to steal second. Harris then singled home Ridgway to conclude BSC's big inning. Up 7-2 after the top of the sixth, Millaps would post a run in their half of the final two innings to bring the contest to the final tally of 7-4.

Freshman Taylor Harkins tossed 4 2/3 innings of four-hit ball to earn the victory and go to 5-2 on the season. Fronk's 2 1/3 innings of relief led to her first save of the season.

BSC returns home this weekend for a conference series against Centre College with noon doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday at BSC Softball Park.