by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College swept Converse College in a Conference Carolinas softball doubleheader on Saturday at Jeffries Field, the Lady Bulldogs taking the first contest, 9-6, and the second one, 4-0.
Junior pitcher Hannah Jones took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of game two and finished the contest with a complete-game, one-hit shutout. She also helped herself at the plate with a pair of hits, a run and an RBI.
Allison Plafcan and Mariah Blackmon each produced three hits for the Valkyries in game one, with Plafcan also driving in three runs.
The sweep improved Barton to 15-15 overall and 3-3 in league play on the season. Converse fell to 2-28 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
Game 2 – Barton 4, Converse 0
Jones, a Huntersville, N.C., resident, hit a batter with two outs in the top of the first, then retired the next 13 Converse batters in a row before McKayla Davis opened the Valkyrie sixth with a clean single through the left side to break up the no-hitter.
Those were the only two baserunners in the game for Converse, as Jones (6-6) did not walk a batter and struck out three in her fifth complete-game and first shutout of the season.
Jones also drove in what would turn out to be the game-winning run, as she delivered a clutch two-out single to right-center in the fourth that scored Blake, who had doubled to lead off the inning.
Barton added a second run in the fourth on a throwing error, and tacked on two more runs in the fifth on RBI doubles by Kelsey Carroll and Blake.
Converse pitcher Jianna Pellegrino held Barton to just eight hits and two earned runs in her own complete-game effort, but fell to 1-8 with the loss.
Game 1 – Barton 9, Converse 6
The Valkyries jumped on BC starter Teagan Crosby for four runs on four hits in the first, including an RBI double by Blackmon and a two-run double by Mackenzie Wenz.
Barton quickly trimmed the deficit to 4-3 in the bottom of the second inning, getting five hits in the frame off Converse pitcher Marissa Steadman (1-13), including an RBI single by Meeks.
The Lady Bulldogs moved in front with a five-run third inning produced on four hits and a Valkyrie error. Santmyers collected an RBI single in the frame, Jessica Onega ripped an RBI double, and Martin added a two-run single as BC took an 8-4 lead.
Converse cut its deficit to 8-6 in the fifth, as Plafcan drove in a pair of unearned runs with a two-out single to left after a Barton error had extended the inning.
BC got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning after Blake drilled a leadoff triple into the gap in right-center and scored on a bunt single by Martin, increasing its lead to 9-6.
Ashton Pegram (2-0) earned the pitching victory with 2 1/3 innings of relief. The freshman gave up two hits, the two unearned runs and two walks. Sierra Hearp worked the seventh inning, issuing a leadoff walk but striking out two to earn her first save of the year.
Barton will play its next four league doubleheaders on the road, beginning next weekend with visits to Erskine College on Friday and Emmanuel College on Saturday.