by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College sophomore Makayla Meeks held one of the league's top offenses to one earned run on nine hits in a complete-game pitching victory as the Lady Bulldogs downed King University, 5-2, in the nightcap of a Conference Carolinas doubleheader Saturday at Jeffries Field.
Earlier in the day, King pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of four Barton fielding errors to post a 9-1 win in game one.
The split left Barton with a record of 22-23 overall and 9-9 in league play, while the Tornado moved to 23-15 and 9-3.
Game 2: Barton 5, King 2
Meeks, a resident of Greenville, N.C., recorded her sixth complete-game of the season in improving to 5-6. She walked three and struck out a pair in the victory.
King took a 1-0 lead off Meeks in the second inning when it produced three hits, including an RBI single by Hannah Devotie. However, Barton prevented a bigger inning by gunning down a potential second run at the plate.
The Lady Bulldogs then responded in the bottom of the inning with a big five-run frame. Barton had six hits in the inning off King starter Raven Allender (2-1) and took advantage of two Tornado errors. Taylor Martin, Sierra Hearp and Taylor Bowden all delivered RBI singles for BC.
King put a runner into scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but each time Meeks worked out of trouble. The Tornado finally got a run in the seventh when Devotie singled, moved to third on a double by Hannah Riddle and scored when the cutoff throw was mishandled. However, Meeks got a pair of flyballs to close out the victory.
Every player in the starting lineup for Barton had one hit in the 11-hit attack, with Bowden and Megan Kelly each collecting two.
Devotie, Riddle, Jennifer Kern and Olivia Lawson each had two hits for the Tornado, accounting for eight of the team's nine.
Game 1: King 9, Barton 1
The Tornado scored one run in the first, two in the second and two more in the third to take an early 5-1 advantage, then rode the pitching of Emma Hughes to the victory.
Hughes (13-4), who ranks third in the league in wins and fourth in strikeouts, only fanned two BC batters in the contest, but limited Barton to just five hits.
King took advantage of clutch hitting in the game, scoring seven of its nine runs with two outs. Kay Brokering produced a two-out RBI single in the first, Kaycee Casteel delivered a two-run single in the second, Erin Roper rapped an RBI single in the sixth and Riddle hammered a two-run homer in the seventh, all with two outs.
Barton hurt its own cause with four errors that led to four unearned runs. Sophomore pitcher Hannah Jones (10-8) was the victim of those miscues. Jones went the distance for her 13th complete game of the year. She walked two and struck out four.
The Lady Bulldogs scored their only run in the bottom of the second when Martin beat out an infield single to second base, stole second and scored on a single through the right side by Samantha Santmyers.
Martin and Kelly both went 2-for-3 to lead BC.
Barton will play its final home game of the season on Sunday when it hosts Lees-McRae College in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Jeffries Field. Before the game, BC will honor five seniors and one graduating junior for their many contributions to the Barton softball program.