by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College and Saint Augustine's University split a non-conference softball doubleheader Wednesday at Jeffries Field, the host Lady Bulldogs taking the opener, 9-1, in six innings and the visiting Lady Falcons claiming game two in eight innings, 12-8.
Sophomore Taylor Martin paced the Barton offense, going 6-for-8 with three runs scored, four RBI and three stolen bases over the two contests. Freshman Hayley Grizzle added a 4-for-6 afternoon with four runs scored and two RBI, and freshman Kelsey Carroll chipped in a 3-for-6 day with a run scored and three RBI.
Saint Augustine's sophomore Makayla August hammered three doubles and went 4-for-5 overall to lead the Lady Falcons in game two. She was also the winning pitcher, going all eight innings and allowing just two earned runs.
The split left Barton at 6-10 on the year and Saint Augustine's at 3-5.
Game 1 – Barton 9, Saint Augustine's 1 (6 inn.)
Hearp (3-2) tossed three perfect innings to open game one before a Barton error and three SAU hits in the fourth accounted for the Lady Falcons' only run of the contest. Hearp worked five innings, giving up just those three hits, walking two and striking out four. Meeks tossed the final inning and did not surrender a hit.
Barton, meanwhile, pounded out 12 hits off Saint Augustine's pitcher Marley Parker (0-2), who allowed five earned runs, walked six and struck out four.
The Lady Bulldogs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an infield single by Grizzle, an SAU error and a single to left field by Martin. BC erupted for four more runs in the third on three hits, including an RBI single by Grizzle and a two-run single by Carroll.
Leading 5-1 after Saint Augustine's lone run in the fourth, Barton added three runs in the bottom of the fifth, two of those coming home on a single by senior Brittany Jacobs. The Lady Bulldogs brought the eight-run rule into effect in the bottom of the sixth with one more run, produced on singles by Alison Montague, Grizzle, Hannah Jones and Carroll.
Game 2 – Saint Augustine's 12, Barton 8 (8 inn.)
Trailing 7-4 entering the bottom of the seventh, Barton took advantage of two costly Saint Augustine's errors to score three runs and force the contest into extra innings. Martin produced a clutch two-out single up the middle to drive in the first two runs, then came around to score the tying run when the SAU third baseman overthrew first base on what would have been the final out of the game.
However, the rally only prolonged the loss for the Lady Bulldogs. In the eighth, Saint Augustine's used two hits, a hit batsman and a number of mental mistakes by Barton to crank out a five-run inning. The final crushing blow was a bases-loaded triple into the right-centerfield gap by Jasmine Rios.
Barton brought home its international tiebreaker runner in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single up the middle by Hearp, but could not deliver another big rally.
The Lady Bulldogs had grabbed a 4-1 lead in the third, scoring the four runs on three hits and three SAU errors. Grizzle and Martin both collected RBI singles in the frame.
Saint Augustine's trimmed its deficit to 4-2 in the fourth on a single by Parker, double by August and sacrifice fly by Haley Sessoms. The Lady Falcons stormed into the lead with a four-run fifth inning, highlighted by a triple from Parker after Barton had walked the bases loaded.
SAU added a single run in the top of the seventh on a walk and August's third double of the game before Barton rallied to tie in the bottom of the frame.
August (3-2) gave up nine hits in the complete-game pitching win, walked three and struck out three. Meeks (0-2), the last of Barton's four pitchers in the contest, took the loss. She surrendered six earned runs over four innings, walked two and struck out three.
Saint Augustine's won the game despite committing six errors.
Barton will play its first Conference Carolinas doubleheader of the season on Saturday when it welcomes Belmont Abbey College to Jeffries Field. First pitch for game one is slated for 1 p.m.