by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College softball team cruised to a doubleheader sweep of Elizabeth City State University in its 2018 home opener on Wednesday, downing the Vikings 14-1 and 16-0 at Jeffries Field.
The Lady Bulldogs have now won four straight – all against Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition – to even their record at 5-5 on the year. The losses for Elizabeth City State came in the program's season debut.
Barton game one starter Hannah Jones (1-3) tossed a five-inning complete-game, giving up five hits and one run, walking one and striking out six. Freshman Jordan Blake and senior Brittany Jacobs, both infielders making their first collegiate pitching appearances, combined on a two-hit shutout in the five-inning second contest.
The BC offense collected 18 combined hits over the two games, but in general was kept out of rhythm at the plate by the struggles of the Vikings in the field and on the mound. Defensively, ECSU committed 11 errors, allowed five passed balls and surrendered 25 stolen bases to the Lady Bulldogs. Three Viking pitchers on the day also walked 20 batters, hit two more and uncorked 15 wild pitches.
On top of her pitching effort in game one, Jones went 3-for-4 on the day at the plate with five RBI to pace Barton offensively. Cheyan Brassuer had two hits and an RBI over the two contests to lead ECSU
Game 1 – Barton 14, Elizabeth City State 1 (5 inn.)
The Vikings held the lead briefly in the opener, as Alyssa Griffin reached base on a fielder's choice and scored on a double into the gap in right-center by Brassuer.
However, Barton struck back with four runs in the bottom of the inning, scoring two of those on wild pitches, one on a passed ball and the other on a throwing error by the catcher.
The Lady Bulldogs increased their lead to 6-1 in the second inning after Blake and Sierra Hearp reached base on a single and walk, respectively, and then scored on a two-out fielding error at third base.
Barton effectively put the game away with a seven-run third inning, highlighted by a triple down the right-field line by Jones that drove in a pair of runs.
Griffin (0-1) pitched all four innings for the Vikings, scattering eight hits and allowing seven earned runs. She walked seven and struck out three.
Game 2 – Barton 16, Elizabeth City State 0 (5 inn.)
The Lady Bulldogs got out to a quick five-run lead in the bottom of the first despite getting just one hit in the frame. BC received RBI sacrifice bunts from Jones and Blake, and scored three other runs on wild pitches by Brassuer, the ECSU starter.
Barton added a single run in the second on an RBI double to left by Blake, then erupted for nine runs in the third inning on six hits and four ECSU errors. Jones and Blake both produced two-run singles during the inning, which saw 12 batters come to the plate.
Jessica Onega drove in one more run for BC in the fourth on a single up the middle that scored Jones, who had walked and moved to second on a wild pitch.
Blake (1-0) worked the first three innings for the Lady Bulldogs, giving up two hits while striking out three, and Jacobs retired all six batters she faced in relief. Neither pitcher issued a walk.
Brassuer (0-1) gave up just two hits over her 1 1/3 innings of work for Elizabeth City State, but walked six and gave up five earned runs in suffering the loss.
The 30 runs scored were the most by Barton in a doubleheader since the Lady Bulldogs defeated Virginia Union University 15-5 and 21-1 on March 23, 2010. It is unknown whether BC's 25 stolen bases in the two games is a school record, but the 13 swiped in game one alone ranks among the top 25 single-game totals in NCAA Division II history.
Barton will return to the road this weekend to face a challenging schedule at the Mid-South Classic in Duncan, S.C. The Lady Bulldogs will face Peach Belt Conference members Augusta University and UNC Pembroke on Saturday. BC will square off against Tiffin University on Sunday morning before facing UNCP again.