by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College and Belmont Abbey College split their Conference Carolinas opener on Saturday, the Lady Bulldogs claiming the opener 1-0 on a run in the bottom of the seventh and the Crusaders taking game two, 6-0, with some late runs.
Ivorie Maltby and Annabeth Watkins tossed a three-hit shutout for Belmont Abbey in the nightcap, and Kaitlin Moore came off the bench to drive in four of the Crusaders' six runs with a pair of doubles.
The split left Barton with a record of 7-11 overall and Belmont Abbey with a mark of 7-13.
Game 1 – Barton 1, Belmont Abbey 0
With the wind gusting in at Jeffries Field, pitching dominated both contests. In game one, it was Crosby and Belmont Abbey's Chace Helms who battled to a scoreless draw for much of the game.
Crosby, a junior transfer from Spartanburg Methodist College, worked the bulk of the game, tossing five innings, giving up three hits, walking three and striking out two.
Belmont Abbey collected two of those three hits in the second inning, and had another batter reach on a fielder's choice to load the bases. However, Crosby used a pop-up to second to escape the inning.
Helms (3-5) did the same to Barton in the fourth. After the Lady Bulldogs loaded the bases with a hit and two walks, the sophomore transfer from NCAA Division I program Winthrop University recorded a strikeout to end the threat.
Jones (2-4) took over for Crosby in the sixth, giving up one hit and recording one strikeout. The hit was a bunt single by Alexis Pereiro, her second hit of the game, but she was doubled off first after the next batter ripped a line drive to third.
Meeks reached base to begin the Barton seventh after being hit by a 1-2 pitch from Helms, and advanced to second on a passed ball when the BAC catcher mishandled the pitch on a bunt attempt. Ashton Pegram then successfully bunted Meeks over to third base, and she scored on a wild pitch from Helms to give Barton the 1-0 win.
Four different players had one hit each for the Lady Bulldogs.
Game 2 – Belmont Abbey 6, Barton 0
The first half of game two looked much like game one, as Maltby and Barton starter Sierra Hearp (3-3) both tossed four scoreless innings.
Barton had some chances early against Maltby (2-2), stranding two in the first after a Hearp single and a walk, and leaving them loaded in the third after failing to cash in on singles by Hayley Grizzle and Jordan Blake a walk to Brittany Jacobs.
Belmont Abbey managed just two hits over the first four innings off Hearp. The Crusaders threatened in the fourth without the benefit of a hit, using a hit batsman, a walk and an error to load the bases with one out. However, Hearp got a pop-up to short and a groundout to second to stop the threat.
The Crusaders finally broke through against Hearp in the fifth when Pereiro slapped an opposite-field single through the left side, then scored all the way from first base when Moore ripped a pinch-hit double into the gap in right-centerfield.
In the sixth with Meeks on in relief for Barton, Moore struck with an even bigger blow. A double to left-center by Brooke Pegram, a single through the left side by Katie Allison and an infield single to third by Pereiro loaded the bases for Moore, who laced a double to the fence in left, driving in all three runs to put BAC up 4-0.
Belmont Abbey tacked on two more runs in the seventh on a hit, two walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch.
Maltby went six scoreless innings for the Crusaders before giving way to Annabeth Watkins, who worked an uneventful seventh after issuing a leadoff walk.
Three BC players had one hit each to account for all of Barton's offense.
Barton will return to action on Thursday when it hosts Francis Marion University in a 1 p.m. non-conference doubleheader.