by Benny Benton
GAFFNEY, S.C. – One day after posting a sweep of league foe Converse College, the Barton College softball team found itself on the other side of that scenario Sunday, falling twice to nationally-ranked No. 24 Limestone College, 11-0 and 9-0.
The Saints (35-7), co-leaders in the Conference Carolinas standings along with Pfeiffer University at 11-1, pounded out 24 hits in the two games, eight of them for extra bases, while limiting Barton (21-22, 8-8) to just seven in the doubleheader.
The shutouts were the ninth and tenth suffered by the Lady Bulldogs this season.
Game 1: Limestone 11, Barton 0 (5 inn.)
The Saints jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Bailey Maybry led off the frame with a double to left, and scored two batters later on Caroline Hill's RBI single to left-center. Emma Swearingen drew a four-pitch walk from Barton starter Makayla Meeks (4-6) to join Hill on base, and both runners came home on Macie Parker's two-out single up the middle.
Meeks avoided further damage in the first by getting a foulout to end the inning and strand two runners, but gave up three straight hits and two runs to open the second inning. She gave way to reliever Sierra Hearp, but Hearp was greeted by an RBI double from Hill. Limestone produced five hits in the frame and took advantage of two BC errors to plate seven runs and take a quick 10-0 lead.
Barton put two runners on base in the third with singles by Samantha Santmyers and Meeks, and two more in the fourth on singles by Sydney Speight and Brittany Jacobs, but each time Limestone pitcher Kaylee Freeman shut the door on the Lady Bulldogs. Freeman, the second of three Limestone pitchers in the game, was credited with the win, moving her record to 5-1 on the year.
Game 2: Limestone 9, Barton 0 (5 inn.)
Barton starter Hannah Jones (10-7) kept the Saints off the board in the first, but Limestone used four hits and a Barton error to score three runs in the second inning, two of them on a two-out, two-run single to center by Maybry.
Limestone added three more runs in the third inning, all of them driven in with two-out hits, including a two-run double to center by Sam Thornton.
Maybry and Tessa Faucette started the Limestone fourth with singles, and Hill ripped a three-run homer to right, her eighth of the year, to add three more runs to the board for the Saints and end Jones' afternoon.
Limestone starter Josie Weber, meanwhile, gave up just three hits in three innings of work, singles to Megan Kelly and Jones in the first and Taylor Martin in the second. She did not walk a batter and struck out three in improving to 17-2 on the year. Bailey Pearson worked two perfect innings of relief, striking out one.
Barton will return home for two Conference Carolinas matchups this weekend. The Lady Bulldogs will host King University on Saturday afternoon and Lees-McRae College on Sunday.