TYLER, Texas—The Birmingham-Southern softball team defeated in-state rival Huntingdon College today, 8-1, in the elimination game of the NCAA Regional at UT Tyler in Tyler, Texas.
The Panthers will move on to face the loser of the game between No. 4 Pacific Lutheran and No. 13 Redlands. Redlands defeated BSC yesterday, 6-4, in the first round.
BSC moves to 35-10 with the win, while the Hawks end their season at 28-15. The teams previously met three times this past season, with BSC going 2-1 against Huntingdon.
Senior Ashley Bice led off the game with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly-out by junior Brittany Berkopec. Freshman Erin Lopez also hit a sac fly to plate freshman Bethany Fronk, who walked, stole second, and went to third on Berkopec's sac fly.
Holly Ostrander hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning to bring in Huntingdon's only run of the game.
In the top of the third, Fronk led off with a double, followed by a Berkopec bunt single to move Fronk to third. In a double steal attempt, Berkopec was put out at second but Fronk scored to put the Panthers up 3-1.
BSC scored four more runs in the top of the fifth. Berkopec recorded an RBI single with one out on the board to bring freshman Joanna Jernigan home. Lopez singled after that to plate two runs (Berkopec and Bice), prompting a Huntingdon pitching change. Junior Jordan Allen pinch ran for Lopez at first base, and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Freshman Taylor Bassett walked, and then both runners advanced on another illegal pitch. After a ground-out for the second out of the inning, an RBI single by junior Chelsea Fernandez scored Allen, but Bassett was out on the play to end the half-inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Huntingdon led off with a single, a double, and a walk to load the bases, after which the BSC defense came through in a big way with a triple play to end the inning as the batter lined out to Berkopec at third followed by a quick throw to Lopez at first who threw back to third where Basset was covering.
An RBI single by Fronk in the top of the sixth put BSC up 8-1, and the Panthers held Huntingdon scoreless in the bottom of the sixth and seventh to send the Hawks home to Montgomery.
BSC recorded 11 total hits, led by Fronk (2-2), Berkopec (2-2), Fernandez (2-3, and Rucker (2-4). Lopez led with three RBI. Kristi Taylor led Huntingdon going 2-3 at the plate.
Senior Ronni Ferris threw the complete game, giving up six hits and one earned run with two strikeouts to move to 14-5 on the year.