FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. --The Birmingham-Southern softball team moved to 4-0 on the season, Sunday, with two shutouts against 19th-ranked Methodist University, defeating the Monarchs 6-0 in game one and 11-0 in five innings in game two.
BSC moves to 4-0 on the season, while Methodist, a NCAA Division III National Tournament team for the past three seasons, drops to 0-2 in its season-opening doubleheader.
In game one, the Panthers scored two in the top of the first off a two-run single down the right field line by junior #Jena Franks#. BSC put another run on the board in the top of the third on an RBI single from freshman #Ashley Bice#, and scored three more in the top of the seventh on a fielder's choice RBI from senior #Melissa Muehlenfeld# and two Methodist errors.
Muehlenfeld started and threw all seven innings in the circle, pitching her second straight shutout while allowing only three hits and two walks with six strikeouts. At the plate, Muehlenfeld went 1-of-4 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI.
Senior #Kayla Backlund# was 1-of-3 with a double and two runs scored, while Bice and Franks were both 1-of-4 at the plate with two RBI apiece. Overall BSC picked up seven hits and only one Panther struck out.
In game two, BSC started strong with four runs in the top of the first, scoring one run on an error and three more when freshman #Ronni Ferris# took advantage of a bases-loaded two-out situation, clearing the bases with a stand-up double to left-center field to put the Panthers up 4-0.
The Panthers added two more in the top of the second on a Bice double to left-center, and one more in the top of the third, scoring on another Methodist error. In the top of the fourth, senior #Erin Glover# laced a two-RBI single up the middle, putting BSC up 9-0.
In the top of the fifth, junior #Tori Harris# sealed the game for BSC when she blasted a two-run homer to move the score from 9-0 to 11-0, and the game ended early when the Monarchs were unable to score in the bottom of the fifth.
Harris was nearly perfect in her first pitching appearance of the year, throwing five innings and allowing only one hit while striking out four batters. She was also impressive at the plate, going 1-of-3 with two runs and two RBI.
Muehlenfeld and Backlund also continued their strong performances, combining to go 4-of-7 with four runs scored, and Glover was impressive with a 3-of-3 showing and two RBI. Bice was 2-of-4 with a double, a run, and two RBI.
So far this season, BSC has outscored its opponents 29-3 and has scored in the first inning of all four games. Backlund, Franks, and Glover are all riding four-game hitting streaks; additionally, Backlund, Bice, Ferris, Harris, Muehlenfeld, and sophomore #Melissa Revis# all recorded extra-base hits this weekend, bringing the team's total to 13 this season (seven doubles, a triple, and three home runs).
The BSC pitching staff has surrendered only 11 hits in 24 innings of work, tallying 22 strikeouts with only seven walks and giving up no extra-base hits. Opponents are batting only .143 against all Panther pitchers.
BSC also has a perfect 8-8 record on stolen bases, and the senior class of Backlund, Glover, and Muehlenfeld is batting a combined .553 with three doubles, two triples, a home run and 13 runs scored.
The Panthers return home again next Sunday, Feb. 22, taking on Maryville College in a 3 p.m. doubleheader at BSC Softball Park.