by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Brittany Jacobs made her Senior Day with the Barton College softball team one to remember, collecting seven RBI as the Bulldogs swept visiting UNC Pembroke, 6-5 and 11-3, Saturday in a non-conference doubleheader at Jeffries Field.
Jacobs, the lone senior on the team, produced five of her team's six RBI in game one, including two that served as the game-tying and go-ahead runs in the 6-5 victory. The Spotsylvania, Va., resident added two RBI in the second contest as Barton pounded out 12 hits in ending that game by the eight-run rule after just five innings.
Everyone who batted for Barton got a hit in at least one of the two games. The Lady Bulldogs (21-27) also received solid pitching performances from Hannah Jones and Makayla Meeks against the Braves (24-22).
Game 1 – Barton 6, UNC Pembroke 5
The bats for both teams were quiet for the first three innings, as UNCP starter Malerie Leviner (9-11) and Jones (10-10) each allowed just two hits over that span.
In the top of the fourth, a dropped fly ball in the outfield by Barton opened the door for the Braves to score five unearned runs. Mary Sells capped the big inning with a three-run triple into the gap in right-center.
Barton rallied right back in the bottom of the inning, however. Infield singles by Sierra Hearp and Hayley Grizzle and a two-out walk to Samantha Santmyers set the stage for Jacobs to begin her Senior Day heroics.
At the end of an epic 12-pitch at-bat in which she fouled off six straight two-strike pitches, Jacobs laced a triple to left field to clear the bases and cut Barton's deficit to 5-3. Jordan Blake added an RBI single to right-center, and the Lady Bulldogs ended the fourth inning trailing by just one at 5-4.
One inning later, Barton completed its comeback. Hearp drew a leadoff walk, and Kelsey Carroll singled to chase Leviner from the game in favor of reliever Raygan Larson. With two outs, Santmyers drew a walk from Larson to load the bases, and Jacobs again delivered, this time a single to right that scored Hearp with the tying run and Carroll with the go-ahead run.
After the unearned runs in the fourth, Jones kept the Braves off the scoreboard the rest of the way, allowing just one more hit. The Huntersville, N.C., resident scattered seven hits on the day and did not allow an earned run while walking one and striking out four.
Barton produced nine hits against the two UNCP pitchers. Jacobs was the only BC player with more than one.
Game 2 – Barton 11, UNC Pembroke 3 (5 inn.)
UNC Pembroke jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in game two, as Toni Nelson laced an RBI triple down the left field line and Jamie Johnson followed with an RBI double to left-center in the top of the first.
However, that lead didn't last very long. The Lady Bulldogs sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first, rapping out eight hits, including five in a row at one point. Barton scored eight times, with the final two scoring courtesy of a single to left by Jacobs.
Santmyers also had a two-run single in the big inning, and Blake produced RBI hits on both her trips to the plate in the inning, a double in the first at-bat and a single in the second.
The Braves got a run back in the third after Johnson led off the inning with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly, but Barton added another to its ledger in the fourth on singles by Grizzle and Jessica Onega.
Barton finished off the contest in the bottom of the fifth. Jones drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a double by Carroll, and both runners scored on a double to left by Hearp.
After giving up four hits in the first inning, Meeks (2-3) allowed UNCP just four more the rest of the way. She did not walk a batter and struck out two.
Blake, Onega and Carroll each had two hits in the game for BC. Five players – Hearp, Blake, Jacobs, Onega and Santmyers – collected two RBI.
Barton will host St. Andrews University in a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Sunday in its regular-season finale. The twinbill will serve as a benefit fundraiser for the Raleigh chapter of Gigi's Playhouse.