by Benny Benton
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Barton College softball team finished off its three-day, six-game road trip on a positive note Monday, sweeping Winston-Salem State University in a non-conference doubleheader, 12-2 in eight innings and 16-6 in six innings.
The Lady Bulldogs (3-5) scored a late run in game one to force extra innings, then exploded for an 11-run inning in the eighth to win it. Barton carried that momentum into game two, pounding out 20 hits while producing its highest scoring game in nearly three years.
A quartet of freshmen led Barton offensively. Jordan Blake went 6-for-10 with five RBI, Ashton Pegram went 5-for-5 with a home run and four RBI, Alison Montague went 4-for-8 with five RBI, and Hayley Grizzle went 3-for-7 with a home run and four RBI.
The Lady Bulldogs also received a strong game one pitching effort from junior transfer Teagan Crosby (1-1), who worked all eight innings, allowing six hits and two unearned runs, walking two and striking out five to earn her first BC victory.
The Rams (1-6) were paced by Samantha Gibbs, who went 4-for-8 in the twinbill with two home runs and four RBI.
Game 1 – Barton 12, Winston-Salem State 2 (8 inn.)
For much of the first contest, Barton's offense struggled much as it had over the first two days of the road trip. The Lady Bulldogs managed just four hits over the course of the seven regulation innings, and were held scoreless by WSSU starter Erica Davis (0-3) for the first five.
Winston-Salem State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Jasmine Holl drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a passed ball. The Rams threatened again in the third after a two-out error and a double by Gibbs put two runners into scoring position, but Crosby struck out Destiny Snipes to end the inning.
Pinch-hitter Hannah Jones was hit by a pitch to open the Barton sixth and replaced on the bases by Taylor Freeman, who moved up to second on a groundout and scored on a single to right-center by Blake, tying the game at 1-all.
After neither side scored in the seventh, the two teams went to extra innings, where Barton's offense finally came to life. A one-out single by Brittany Jacobs drove in the tiebreak runner, and Grizzle followed with a two-run blast to left field, her second home run of the season.
From there, the flood gates opened. Barton produced seven hits in the frame, including two-run singles from Montague, Pegram and Blake. The 11 runs in the inning matched the team's entire scoring production to that point on the three-day road trip.
Game 2 – Barton 16, Winston-Salem State 6 (6 inn.)
The hot hitting continued in the first inning of game two, as the Lady Bulldogs produced three hits and scored four times. Blake collected an RBI single, and Montague delivered the big hit of the frame, a bases-clearing double. Barton added a run in the third when Taylor Martin drove in Blake, who had doubled to lead off the inning.
However, the Rams battled back in the bottom of the third, scoring five times to tie the game. Gibbs had a three-run homer in the frame and Kortney Thomas added a two-run double off Meeks, the BC starter.
The Lady Bulldogs quickly regained the lead in the fourth, producing a run when Makayla Meeks reached base after being hit by a pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Grizzle. BC tacked on two more runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Jessica Onega and RBI double by Sierra Hearp, then exploded for eight runs in the sixth inning on nine hits, including Pegram's first collegiate homer.
Hearp (2-1) took over pitching duties for Barton in the fourth and scattered five hits over her three innings of work, allowing one run and walking a pair while striking out three.
The 20 hits were the most in a game by Barton since the Lady Bulldogs hammered out 22 in a 20-2 win at Virginia Union University on March 18, 2012.
After starting the year with seven consecutive games on the road, Barton is scheduled to finally make its 2018 home debut on Wednesday when the Lady Bulldogs host Elizabeth City State University in a noon doubleheader at Jeffries Field.