Softball splits with No. 24 Piedmont in opener

Alyssa Statham (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Alyssa Statham (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern softball team opened the 2015 season at home on Saturday, splitting with No. 24 Piedmont at BSC Softball Park. The Panthers dropped the first game, 5-4, before shutting out the Lions in game two, 4-0. Both teams now stand at 1-1 to start the year.

BSC got on the board first in game one in the bottom of the first inning when senior Alyssa Statham doubled down the left field line to score junior Maddie Ridgway, who reached on a Piedmont error. The lead did not stand long, as the Lions scored in the top of the second on a Panther error to tie things up 1-1.

Freshman Micaela Beck put BSC back in the lead in the bottom of the second, hitting a home run in her first collegiate at-bat to put the Panthers up 2-1. But Piedmont found its first lead of the game in the top of the third, scoring three runs to pull ahead 4-2. Two of those runs came on an inside-the-park home run by Abby Smith.

BSC cut it to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth, scoring on another Piedmont error, but the Lions answered once again, scoring in the top of the fifth to pull back ahead 5-3.

An RBI double from senior Taylor Bassett in the bottom of the fifth cut the Lions' lead one, 5-4, and the Panthers had a chance to tie things up in the bottom of the sixth, getting a runner to third with two outs. But BSC was not able to score, and did not get on base in the bottom of the seventh, allowing Piedmont to escape with the one-run victory.

Senior Bethany Fronk started in the circle for BSC and went 2.2 innings, giving up three earned runs with two strikeouts to pick up the loss. Sophomore Taylor Harkins came in for the last 4.1 innings and gave up one run with five strikeouts.

Beck was 3-3 at the plate, but Piedmont out-hit the Panthers 11-8.

In the nightcap, both teams were scoreless until the bottom of the third when Statham hit a three-run home run over the center-field fence, plating Ridgway and Fronk. In the bottom of the sixth, sophomore Amanda Ballew put BSC up 4-0 with a home run—the first of her career—to right field to wrap up the game's scoring.

Harkins threw the complete-game shutout, giving up six hits with five strikeouts. For the day she pitched 10.1 innings and allowed 12 hits with 10 strikeouts.

Ballew and Beck were both 2-3 at the plate for BSC.

The Panthers are back in action at home this Tuesday, Feb. 24, hosting LaGrange in a 3 p.m. doubleheader at BSC Softball Park.