CONWAY, Ark.—The Birmingham-Southern softball team went 2-1 Friday on the first day of the 2014 Southern Athletic Association Championship, hosted by Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. The second-seeded Panthers defeated seventh-seeded Sewanee, 15-1 in five innings, before falling to third-seeded Millsaps, 6-4 in 11 innings, but rebounded with a 7-3 win against fourth-seeded Rhodes this evening.
BSC will play tomorrow at noon against the winner of the 10 a.m. game between No. 5 Hendrix and No. 6 Centre. With a win, the Panthers will play again at 4 p.m. and then possibly again at 6 p.m., while a loss in either game sends BSC back to Birmingham. The teams are playing an accelerated schedule for the weekend due to the threat of severe weather on Sunday.
The Panthers now stand at 25-18 on the season. BSC recorded 11 hits against Sewanee, with four different Panthers posting two apiece, and junior Bethany Fronk had a game-high four RBI. Freshman Taylor Harkins, who was named SAA Pitcher of the Year on Thursday, started in the circle and threw two innings, picking up five strikeouts, before sophomore Deanna Creps (1-0) took over, giving up one hit and one run.
In the loss to Millsaps, the Panthers held a 2-1 lead heading into the seventh before the Majors scored three in the top of the seventh. BSC tied it up in the bottom of the seventh courtesy of an RBI ground-out by freshman Taylor Brewer and a sacrifice fly-out by freshman Alex Skene. The 4-4 tie stood until the 11th inning, when Millsaps scored twice in the top half and held BSC scoreless in the bottom, ending the game on a double play to clinch the victory.
Fronk started in the circle and threw four innings, giving up three hits and one earned run with one walk and five strikeouts, before Harkins (10-7) came in for the final seven innings. She allowed five hits and one earned run with two walks and four strikeouts.
BSC scored twice in the top of the first inning of game three against Rhodes and would never trail, going up 5-2 after three complete innings and adding runs in the top of the fifth and sixth for a final of 7-3. Junior Alyssa Statham was impressive at the plate, going 4-4, as was Fronk in the circle, pitching a complete game to move to 14-11 on the season. She gave up seven hits while walking only one batter with seven strikeouts.