by Benny Benton
CARY, N.C. – The Barton College softball team defeated West Virginia State University, 7-3, and Bowie State University, 14-7, on Saturday to complete a 4-0 weekend at the Shaw University Challenge.
Junior Jessica Onega continued swinging a hot bat, going 6-for-7 with four runs scored and five RBI. The Belle Glade, Fla., resident now has a five-game hitting streak, and has also produced at least one run, extra-base hit and RBI in each of those contests.
Jones also earned the pitching win against WVSU, allowing just four hits and one earned run in the complete-game victory. Freshman Ashton Pegram picked up her first collegiate decision in the second contest, scattering six hits and giving up just one earned run over 5 1/3 innings of relief work.
Game 1 – Barton 7, West Virginia State 3
The Lady Bulldogs, the designated visitors in the neutral-site game, jumped on West Virginia State in the top of the first, scoring twice on four hits. Hayley Grizzle started the attack with a two-out single to left, Onega followed with a single to center, and Brittany Jacobs drove in the day's first run with a single to center. After Pegram walked to load the bases, Carroll singled to left, scoring Onega with the second run of the frame.
The Yellow Jackets got a run back in the bottom of the frame, as Kayleigh Thompson drew a leadoff walk from Jones, moved to second on a groundout and scored on a two-out single to left by Brittany Allison.
Neither team scored again until the fifth, when Taylor Martin led off the BC half of the inning with a double down the left field line, moved to third on a Grizzle groundout and came home on a sacrifice fly to right by Onega to increase the lead to 3-1.
Barton added two more runs in the sixth on RBI doubles by Carroll and Jones, and tacked on two more runs in the seventh when Onega, a transfer from Palm Beach State College, ripped her first home run as a Lady Bulldog with a blast to left.
After giving up the first-inning run, Jones limited West Virginia State to just one hit and no runs over the next five innings. Down 7-1 in the seventh, the Yellow Jackets took advantage of a BC error to score two unearned runs on a single by pinch-hitter Alliyah Pullins and reduce the final deficit to 7-3.
Jones (4-5) walked five and struck out three in posting her third complete-game victory of the season.
Game 2 – Barton 14, Bowie State 7
Bowie State, also the Bulldogs, jumped on Barton in the top of the first, scoring four times on three hits off BC starter Makayla Meeks. Inaya Jones and Morgan Powell produced RBI singles for BSU, and Jaelyn Belt delivered a two-out, two-run single to provide the big early lead.
BSU added a single run in the second on a two-out walk and RBI double by Tiffany Bearns that ended the pitching day for Meeks and increased the Bowie State advantage to 5-0.
Barton got most of the runs back in the bottom of the second, scoring four times to pull within one at 5-4. Carroll, Taylor Freeman and Jones all collected RBI singles, and BC gained a fourth run on a Bowie State error.
BSU used three singles, the last one by Bearns, to plate a run in the top of the fourth and increase its lead to 6-4, but that would be the last time it would hold the advantage. In the bottom of the frame, Barton cranked out five hits and benefitted from two Bowie State errors to score four times and grab an 8-6 lead. Grizzle had a two-run single and Onega drove in a run with a single, both of those hits coming with two outs.
In the fifth, Bowie State used a leadoff double by Jacqueline Pickering and a BC error to score an unearned run and close within one at 8-7, but Barton put the game away with six runs in the bottom of the inning, most of them unearned courtesy of two BSU errors. Onega did have an RBI single in the frame, her third hit of the game, and Carroll added an RBI double.
Pegram (1-0) did not walk a batter and struck out one in earning the win in relief for BC.
Barton was scheduled to play at Fayetteville State University on Sunday afternoon, but that doubleheader has been moved to Monday night due to weather concerns. First pitch for game one is slated for 6 p.m. in Fayetteville, N.C.