by Kevin Buczek
DUE WEST, S.C.-Junior Elizabeth Webb drove in both of Barton's runs and sophomore Autumn Pittman tossed a complete game shutout in Conference Carolinas softball doubleheader split at Erskine College on Saturday. The Flying Fleet won the first game 2-1 and the Lady Bulldogs took the nightcap 1-0.
Barton (17-22 Overall, 7-13 Conf.) remained in contention for the final playoff spot in the 2012 Conference Carolinas Tournament with the win in the second game. The Lady Bulldogs can clinch the eighth and final seed with a twin bill sweep at Queens University of Charlotte on Sunday or with one win and a Belmont Abbey lose to St. Andrews University.
Erskine (19-21, 14-8) maintains fourth place in the league standings.
Junior Larissa Shannon provided the Fleet with an early 1-0 lead in the opener with a solo homer in the bottom of the first. Shannon leads the conference with 17 home runs on the season.
Barton knotted the score in the top of the fifth as sophomore Alex Baylis reached on an error and eventually scored on a RBI-groundout by Webb.
Erskine regained the lead for good in the home half of the sixth. Shannon drew a leadoff walk and was pinched ran by freshman Brooke Benson. After a single by junior Morgan Purcell moved Benson into scoring position, classmate Bailey Thornton drove in the game-winning run with another single.
Both teams were held to just four hits on strong pitching performances by Erskine junior Kelsey Spurrier and Barton senior Emily Jordan. Spurrier (11-7) did not allow an earned run and notched nine strikeouts. Jordan (5-9) allowed two runs over six innings while striking out a pair.
Pittman kept the hosts off the scoreboard in the second game to help Barton avoid the sweep. Pittman (6-8) scattered five hits and issued one walk over seven innings. Pittman tied her season-high strikeout total with 11 K's.
The Lady Bulldogs scored the contests lone run in the top of the third. Freshman Heather Gatton reached first to start the frame on an Erskine error and then was replaced by Baylis on a fielder's choice. Webb then drove in Baylis for the game-winner with a double.
Webb had both of BC's hits going 2-for-3.
Erskine threatened with runners in scoring position in the first, second and seventh but Pittman wiggled out of each jam including a game-ending strikeout with the potential game tying and winning runs on base in the seventh.