by Benny Benton
CARY, N.C. – The Barton College softball team completed play in the Shaw University Softball Challenge on a down note Sunday, falling to Chowan University 9-3 at Thomas Brooks Park.
The Lady Bulldogs (11-10) fell behind 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning, as Katrina Simmons produced a leadoff walk, Kayla Robins followed with a two-run homer to left field, and Danielle Baccus added a solo shot down the left field line two batters later.
Barton closed to within a run in the third inning after Sierra Hearp, Sydney Speight and Brittany Jacobs all singled. The single up the middle by Jacobs drove in Hearp, and Speight also scored on the play when the centerfielder misplayed the ball.
However, Chowan (11-12) erupted for a six-run fifth inning off Barton pitcher Hannah Jones (4-2), collecting six hits in the frame, including a two-run double by Kris Neal and a two-run single by Emily Stafford. The Hawks rapped out 10 hits off Jones and drew five walks in the contest.
Barton trimmed the final deficit by scoring a run in the seventh. Megan Kelly led off the frame with a single, moved to second on a groundout and scored on Jacobs' second RBI single of the day.
The Lady Bulldogs produced the same number of hits in the game as Chowan, 10, but Robins (5-5) struck out 11 Barton batters to help herself strand eight BC runners on base. It was the ninth game this year in which Robins has reached double-digits in strikeouts.
In addition to the two hits by Jacobs, the Lady Bulldogs received two hits from Kelly and two from Samantha Santmyers. Kelly had at least one hit in all five games of the Shaw tourney and has hit safely in six straight games overall.
The loss was the first by Barton to a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association team after seven straight wins this season and 13 in a row overall going back to a loss at Chowan last season.
Barton will open Conference Carolinas play on Tuesday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Belmont Abbey College.