Softball shuts out Sewanee twice for four-game sweep

SEWANEE, Tenn.—A second straight day of shutout pitching propelled the Birmingham-Southern softball team to a four-game sweep of SCAC foe Sewanee to move to 29-7 overall and 15-1 in conference play.

Panther bats combined for 27 runs and 37 hits on the day to earn the 14-0 and 13-0 wins on the road. The two victories came in five innings as the Tigers saw their record for the season fall to 5-24 and 0-18 in the conference.

BSC returns to action on Tuesday, playing a make-up game at LaGrange, before beginning postseason play on Friday in Jackson, Tenn., in the SCAC Softball Championship. The East Division leaders will be playing in their first conference tournament, although they also finished atop the standings last season but were ineligible for postseason play due to the transition to NCAA Division III. The Panthers will face the winner of the game between No. 2 West seed Southwestern and No. 3 East seed Rhodes at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 27, at the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex in Jackson, Tenn.

BSC scored five runs in the first inning courtesy of five hits and a sacrifice fly from junior Brittany Berkopec that brought home lead-off hitter senior Ashley Bice. Singles from freshman Bethany Fronk and senior Beth Lefler, coupled with a double from junior Chelsea Fernandez, accounted for the rest of the Panther scoring in the first.

The run manufacturing would continue in the second with the BSC squad batting all the way through the lineup. RBI singles from junior Danielle Rucker, Fronk, and freshman Joanna Jernigan, complemented by a freshman Taylor Bassett double and Fernandez sacrifice fly would account for the six Panther runs in the frame. The final runs of the game came off the bat of Bice with a three-run home run in the fourth. The big fly, Bice's team-leading third hit of the game, scored Fernandez and Rucker.

The offensive production proved to be plenty of run support for Lefler in the cirlcle as she held Tiger batters to a mere two hits on the day. The victory improves Lefler's record to 6-1 this season.

Game two in the double bill would feature an especially dominant pitching performance to accompany the offensive prowess of the Panther softball team. The freshmen pitching duo of Fronk and Kendall Watson combined to throw a no-hitter, with the only blemish being a walk in the fifth inning. The win moved Fronk to 12-2 this season.

The Panther offense scored in every inning of game two and started with four runs in the top of the first. Both of the earned runs in the inning were off singles, one from Bassett and the other from junior Jordan Allen. BSC matched the four-run output of the first with another four in the second. The final run of the inning was tallied when senior Ronni Ferris came across after a Fernandez triple. Panther scoring was wrapped up in the fifth with a double from freshman Elizabeth Ballew that scored Bassett and Berkopec.

Birmingham-Southern's offense was paced by Bassett's game-high four hits and two RBI, which was matched by two RBI from Ferris.