by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College suffered a pair of softball losses Friday to the Conference Carolinas preseason favorite, Limestone College, falling 5-0 and 8-0, the latter contest in five innings.
Limestone pitchers Courtney Smith and Josie Weber combined to hold the Lady Bulldogs (13-15, 1-3) to just six hits over 12 scoreless innings. Smith tossed a four-hitter in the opener and Weber followed with a two-hitter in the nightcap.
Freshman Nohealani Burden produced three of Barton's six hits on the day.
In addition to its offensive struggles, BC committed five errors over the two contests to assist the Saints (15-8, 2-0) in their wins.
Game 1 – Limestone 5, Barton 0
Barton starter Hannah Jones (5-6) kept Limestone off the board for five innings, scattering five hits and escaping a number of jams. The Saints had a runner on base in all five innings and at least one in scoring position in four, but each time Jones worked her way out of trouble.
In the sixth, however, a one-out single and an error on a grounder to short set the stage for a big inning by the Saints. The next batter, freshman pinch-hitter Audra Butler, produced the first hit of her LC career, a double to right field, to drive in both runners.
A catcher's interference call and a single loaded the bases again for Limestone. The Saints brought one runner home on a sacrifice fly, and Emma Swearingen finished off the big inning with a two-run triple to right center.
Four of the five runs in the inning were unearned due to the BC miscues.
Barton had its best chance to score off Smith (9-2) in the fourth when Brittney Jacobs walked and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. However, Jacobs was caught stealing at third base just before a triple by Jordan Blake that would have driven her home.
The Lady Bulldogs only got two other runners into scoring position in the contest, one in the fifth and one in the sixth, but both were stranded on second.
Smith struck out four and walked four in her seventh complete-game of the year.
Game 2 – Limestone 8, Barton 0 (5 inn.)
Barton starter Teagan Crosby (2-3) held the Saints to one hit and no runs over the first two innings, but Limestone used three hits and a BC error to plate four runners in the third, three of them on a two-out, bases-loaded double to right-center by Siara Shelton.
Limestone finished off the Lady Bulldogs in the fifth, adding four more runs off reliever Makayla Meeks on six hits and a BC error. Mary Hart had a two-run single in the frame, and Shelton added her fourth RBI of the game with a single.
Barton's only two hits came in the same inning, the third. Burden delivered a leadoff single to center, and Meeks beat out an infield single to third two batters later. However, Weber (5-5) struck out the next two batters to end the inning. Weber struck out five and did not walk a batter in the victory.
The Lady Bulldogs hope to get back on track Saturday when they host Converse College in a 2 p.m. conference doubleheader at Jeffries Field.