by Benny Benton
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Barton College was swept in a Conference Carolinas softball doubleheader on Monday at King University, losing the opener, 9-1, in six innings and falling in the second contest, 3-2.
Errors proved costly for the Lady Bulldogs (18-22, 4-10), particularly in game two, as all three runs scored by King were unearned. Barton also struggled offensively, producing just four hits in each game of the doubleheader.
King (23-15, 10-4) rapped out 10 hits in the opener and added seven hits in the finale.
Game 2 – King 3, Barton 2
Both King starter Emma Hughes and Barton pitcher Makayla Meeks were strong in the early going. Hughes surrendered just one hit and Meeks allowed just four hits over four scoreless innings.
Barton finally broke on top in the fifth against Hughes. Taylor Freeman, who went 2-for-2 in the game, singled to right with one out in the frame and Meeks drew a two-out walk. Sierra Hearp followed with a double into the gap in left-center, driving in both runners to give BC the 2-0 advantage.
King produced consecutive one-out singles off Meeks in the bottom of the fifth and both runners reached scoring position after a passed ball. Meeks collected the second out of the inning on a grounder back to the circle, and seemed to have escaped the inning after getting a pop-up to short off the bat of Kay Brokering. However, the ball was dropped, allowing both runners to score and tie the game at 2-all. Jenna Burnett followed with a single, driving in Brokering with the go-ahead run.
Barton got the potential tying run to second base in the sixth after Jordan Blake singled with one out and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. However, King reliever Rachel Farmer induced a grounder to third to end the inning and the threat.
Farmer walked one batter in the seventh before finishing off her fourth save of the season. Raven Allender (3-1), who collected the final out of the fifth after replacing Hughes, was credited with the win.
Meeks (1-3) suffered a hard-luck loss for BC. The Greenville, N.C., resident went the distance for her second complete-game of the season, did not allow an earned run and did not walk a batter. Meeks scattered seven hits and struck out one.
Game 1 – King 9, Barton 1 (5 inn.)
The Tornado took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Hannah Riddle tripled down the left field line and scored on a groundout by Brokering.
In the third, King took advantage of a dropped fly ball in center to score three more runs, two of them unearned. Candace Maness had a leadoff double and scored on the miscue, and Brokering added a double after a walk to Riddle.
Barton collected its lone run of the contest in the top of the fourth when Brittany Jacobs tripled off the fence in left-center and scored on a sacrifice fly to right-center by Hayley Grizzle, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
However, the Tornado tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the inning. Maness and Katie McCann both singled, and Riddle was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brokering then cleared the bases with a double that one-hopped the fence in left-center, increasing the King lead to 7-1.
Riddle finished off the contest via the eight-run rule in the fifth, delivering a two-run triple after King had opened the inning with a single and a walk.
Barton starter Hannah Jones (8-8) took the loss after giving up five hits and four runs, just two of them earned, over three innings. Reliever Teagan Crosby was charged with five hits and the remaining runs.
Leslie Odom (12-4) recorded a complete-game for King, giving up the four hits and one run, walking one and striking out five.
Barton will return to action on Friday when it hosts North Greenville University in a league doubleheader at Jeffries Field. First pitch for game one is slated for 3 p.m.