by Benny Benton
CENTRAL, S.C. – The Barton College softball team claimed its first sweep of a Conference Carolinas opponent this season on Friday after downing Southern Wesleyan twice on the road at Varsity Field, 7-2 and 12-11 (9 inn.)
Senior Taylor Bowden had five hits in the doubleheader for the Lady Bulldogs (15-16, 3-3) and scored six times, including the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of the nightcap. Freshman Taylor Martin collected five RBI in the two games and freshman Sierra Hearp added four hits and four RBI.
Sara Sweatt went 5-for-9 to pace the Warriors (4-18, 0-4).
Game 1: Barton 7, Southern Wesleyan 2
Megan Kelly led off the day with a double to center, and Bowden followed with a single to left, setting the table for a sacrifice fly by Brittany Jacobs and an RBI sacrifice bunt by Martin that put BC up quickly, 2-0.
Southern Wesleyan got a run back in the bottom of the first on a Barton error, but the Lady Bulldogs produced two more runs in the second on a pair of bases-loaded walks issued by SWU starter Josie Edwards (2-5).
Three hits in the second inning for the Warriors, the final one by Sweatt, drove in a run and cut the SWU deficit to 4-2, but Hearp delivered a two-run double in the fourth inning to extend BC's lead to 6-2. Barton tacked on a final run in the sixth inning set up by a single from Bowden and double from Jacobs.
Barton pitcher Hannah Jones (6-4) won her second decision in as many days, scattering five hits and allowing one earned run while walking one and striking out two.
Game 2: Barton 12, Southern Wesleyan 11 (9 inn.)
The Lady Bulldogs appeared to be on their way to an easy victory in the nightcap after scoring eight unearned runs in the second inning on six hits and two SWU errors.
The big inning put BC up 8-2 at the time, but Southern Wesleyan chipped away at that lead, getting two runs in the bottom of the second and one in the third to trim its deficit to 8-5.
After Barton scored a run in the fourth on consecutive doubles by Hearp and Martin to make the lead 9-5, the Warriors responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame on three hits to pull within just one at 9-8.
The Lady Bulldogs again tried to gain some separation with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, but SWU answered once more with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning to remain within a run.
Barton took that 11-10 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but Southern Wesleyan's Becca White drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on an Alex Oliver single and scored on a single by Lexi Thompson.
With a runner at second base and just one out, the Warriors had two shots at creating a walk-off win. However, Barton pitcher Makayla Meeks (3-3) got a flyball to center and a fielder's choice groundout to send the game to extra innings.
Both teams failed to drive in the international tiebreaker runner in the eighth inning. Kelly was placed on second base to begin the Barton ninth, and Bowden moved her to third with a bunt single. Edwards (2-6), SWU's third pitcher of the night, got a line drive to third for one out, but then walked Carolina Merrill to load the bases, and gave up a fielder's choice grounder to Martin that brought home the go-ahead run.
Meeks walked one batter in the bottom of the frame, but used a strikeout, a lineout to left field and a pop-up to second to keep the Warriors off the board in the bottom of the ninth.
The sophomore pitcher went all nine innings to collect the win despite giving up 12 hits, seven walks and 10 earned runs.
Barton will continue its road trip on Saturday when it visits North Greenville University for a noon doubleheader in Tigerville, S.C.