by Benny Benton
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The Barton College softball team extended its winning streak to six on Tuesday night with a pair of 14-4 victories over host Fayetteville State University.
The Lady Bulldogs took the first contest in five innings after breaking a 4-4 tie with a nine-run fourth inning. Barton needed all seven innings to produce the same result in the nightcap.
With the wins, Barton evened its season record at 13-13. The Lady Broncos fell to 1-11 with the losses.
Junior Makayla Meeks went 5-for-7 at the plate with four runs scored and a pair of RBI to pace Barton. Junior Hannah Jones added a 4-for-6 evening at the plate with six RBI, and freshman Hayley Grizzle produced a 3-for-4 effort with five runs scored and three RBI.
Game 1 – Barton 14, Fayetteville State 4 (5 inn.)
Ironically, the game that was closer the longest ended up being the one shortened to five innings by the eight-run rule.
Barton took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning on four hits and an FSU error, but the Lady Broncos used a walk and an infield single to set the stage for a three-run homer by Madison Mendoza that gave Fayetteville State a 3-2 advantage.
BC moved back in front in the top of the third, 4-3, after getting leadoff singles by Taylor Martin and Grizzle, an RBI bunt single by Brittany Jacobs and a run-producing wild pitch. However, the Lady Broncos tied the game at 4-all in the bottom of the frame on two infield singles and an RBI double to center by Halee Knowles.
The Lady Bulldogs exploded on offense in the top of the fourth, producing six hits and effectively putting the game away. Martin drove in the go-ahead run with a one-out double down the right field line, and BC received clutch two-out RBI hits from Nohealani Burden, Jordan Blake, Meeks and Jones, the last one a two-run double.
Jones (5-5) picked up the pitching win, scattering five hits and the four runs over three innings. Meeks tossed two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two.
Game 2 – Barton 14, Fayetteville State 4
Just as it had done in game one, Fayetteville State overcame a quick lead by Barton to take a brief advantage in the contest.
Barton moved in front in the top of the first on a walk to Jones and an eventual sacrifice fly by Grizzle. However, the Lady Broncos responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame on a leadoff single, a hit batsman and a two-run double by Knowles.
An FSU error in the second helped BC tie the game at 2-all, and the Lady Bulldogs broke the game open in the third with five runs produced on four hits and two Fayetteville State errors. The big hit in the inning was a two-out, three-run double to right by Jones.
BC scored a single run in the top of the fourth on a Grizzle walk, a Jessica Onega double and a Teagan Crosby groundout to increase the advantage to 8-2, but the Lady Broncos cranked out three hits in the bottom of the frame and scored twice to trim their deficit to 8-4.
Barton tacked on single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, then collected four hits in a four-run seventh inning, highlighted by a two-run single from Grizzle.
Crosby (2-2) earned the pitching win, scattering six hits and the four runs over five innings. Ashton Pegram worked two scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and striking out one.
Onega had a hit and scored a run in both games of the doubleheader, extending streaks in both those categories to seven games.
Barton will return home to face Limestone College, the preseason favorite in Conference Carolinas, in a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Friday at Jeffries Field.