No. 25 Softball drops two in SAA Championship

No. 25 Softball drops two in SAA Championship

BRANDON, Miss.—After top-seeded Berry won 3-2 with a walk-off double, sixth-seeded Hendrix upset the second-seeded and 25th-ranked Birmingham-Southern softball team, 8-3, to bring the Panthers' post-season bid to an end Sunday at Shiloh Park in Brandon, Miss.

BSC falls to 32-8-1, while Berry moved to 31-6 and Hendrix moved to 14-25. The Vikings and Warriors will face off for the SAA title this afternoon, with Berry needing only one win to clinch the championship.

The Panthers got off to a quick start in the top of the first as freshman Micaela Beck hit her 11th home run of the season to bring in two runs. Berry scored once in the bottom of the first on a sac fly from Sarah Moore.

BSC held the 2-1 lead through the next five-and-a-half innings and were one out away from a win in the bottom of the seventh when Kenzie Fleming doubled to right-center to bring in two runners for the 3-2 walk-off victory.

Beck was 2-3 with two RBI to lead the Panthers, and senior Bethany Fronk was 2-4. Fronk also threw the complete game, falling to 15-3 after allowing seven hits and two earned runs with no walks and four strikeouts.

The Panthers fell into the elimination bracket after that to face the sixth-seeded Warriors, who upset fifth-seeded Centre 8-0 earlier today. Hendrix brought that same momentum into its game against BSC, scoring five quick runs in the bottom of the first and adding another in the third before the Panthers finally got on the board in the top of the fourth, scoring two on a failed pick-off. The Warrior offense scored twice more in the bottom of the fifth, though, increasing the lead to 8-2. BSC was able to add one more in the top of the seventh, scoring on a wild pitch, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Hendrix lead.

Sophomore Torrie Garner led the Panthers at the plate, going 3-4, while junior Maddie Ridgway and sophomore Amanda Ballew were both 2-4. Sophomore Taylor Harkins (17-5) started and took the loss, throwing 2.0 innings and allowing four hits and five earned runs with one strikeout. Fronk came in for the final 5.0 innings and gave up five hits and two earned runs with two strikeouts.