Softball splits with Hendrix to take SAA series

Torrie Garner (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Torrie Garner (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—In the final home conference series on the schedule, the Birmingham-Southern softball team split the final games of the series against Hendrix, winning 9-1 and losing 9-7, Sunday afternoon at BSC Softball Park after winning both games on Saturday.

BSC moves to 20-14 overall and 17-3 in Southern Athletic Association action before heading to Berry next weekend for a showdown with the conference regular season crown on the line. Hendrix will head home with a record of 14-16 and an 8-9 SAA mark.

In game one, a steady dose of junior Bethany Fronk at the plate and in the circle, combined with a game-high four RBI from junior Hannah Harris, proved to be a winning combination for the Panthers. Fronk went the distance in the circle spreading out five hits and one run over her six innings of work.

The Panthers, and Harris, wasted no time providing run support as the home team posted three runs in the bottom of the first. With freshman Torrie Garner on base and BSC already boasting a one-run lead, Harris ripped a double down the left field line to score Garner for her first RBI of the game. A single from Amanda Ballew plated Harris to give the Panthers the 3-0 lead.

After a RBI single from Fronk in the second to extend the lead to 4-0, Harris laced another double down the left field line in the fourth to score junior Alyssa Statham for her second RBI of the game. Three batters later, a single from freshman Alex Skene brought home Ballew and Harris to push the lead out to 7-0 after three innings.

In the bottom of the sixth, Harris doubled again, this time to center field, to score Statham and Fronk for her third and fourth RBI of the contest.

Game two of the Sunday twin bill was a highly competitive, back-and-forth affair. BSC struck first with a run in the bottom of the second after a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of Skene scored Ballew. After Hendrix tied the game in the top of the third, yet another Harris double down the left field line helped BSC regain the lead as it brought home Fronk and sophomore Maddie Ridgway.

Hendrix again tied the game in the fourth with a pair of runs off BSC freshman starter Taylor Harkins. The Panthers answered in the home half of the fourth with a RBI single from junior Joanna Jernigan that scored freshman Taylor Brewer to claim a 4-3 lead heading into the fifth. Hendrix scored two more runs in the fifth to claim a short-lived 5-4 lead. BSC would even the game at five in the bottom of the fifth when a Ballew single brought home Fronk.

Hendrix, however, would score four runs in the sixth off both Fronk (11-10), who was brought in to relieve Harkins in the fifth, and Harkins after she re-entered in the sixth with two outs. Down 9-5 in the bottom of the seventh, a Panther rally was stopped short as the Brewer single to left that plated Garner and Ballew would be the only runs scored by BSC in the inning.

Offensively in game two the Panthers were paced by Fronk and Ballew as each tied for a game-high three hits apiece. The duo also tied for a game-high two runs each.

The Panthers return to action Wednesday afternoon with a 3 p.m. doubleheader against in-state foe, and fellow Methodist institution, Huntingdon College.