RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Meredith College softball Angels persevered for a 2-1 finish in game one of Saturday's USA South doubleheader with Ferrum and closed out the sweep with a 4-1 game two victory. Sarah Watson led with five hits, three runs, and one RBI on the day.
Meredith clinched hosting privileges for round one action of the USA South Tournament slated to take place next Saturday, April 8. The top-six teams from each division qualify, and the top-three seeds of each division host a best-of-three series. Winners advance to a double-elimination tournament in LaGrange, Georgia, the following week.
The Angels have been absent from the past two league tournaments and will battle the Mary Baldwin Fighting Squirrels tomorrow for a No. 1 seed.
Scoreless through four innings, the Panthers advanced two runners on two hits in the fifth and drove in the lead run on the next at-bat before Meredith could shut down the run.
Kelsey Mabe singled in the bottom of the frame and moved to third with help from Brittany Bucklin and Maria Annunziata. Watson scored Mabe on a RBI-triple and advanced home herself with a single from Eran Artigues to give the Angels the advantage.
Julia Cerasi entered in the sixth to pitch for Taylor Jackson and forced Ferrum's batters into a series of infield grounders and a strikeout to close out the win for her fourth career save. Jackson earned the win allowing four hits, one earned run, three walks, and a pair of strikeouts. Ashton Lambeth posted the loss allowing 11 Meredith hits, earning both runs with two walks, striking out three.
After a slow start Meredith took charge of game two in the second frame. Annunziata and Watson notched back-to-back singles, and Artigues sacrificed to advance the runners into scoring position. Annunziata ran home on a wild pitch, and Rachel Peel drove in Watson with a RBI groundout to give Meredith a two-run advantage.
Haley Ervin earned another one of her signature bunt singles, and Brittany Bucklin crushed a triple to center. A perfect Panther throw caught Ervin headed for home, and a fly ball ended the inning scoreless.
Ferrum took advantage of an off inning for the Meredith defense to score a run in the top of four, but Watson led off with a single in the bottom of the frame to shift the momentum back in favor of the hosts. Artigues singled, and Peel advanced the runners. A passed ball made room for Watson to score, and Artigues followed her with a Mabe RBI-single for a 4-1 Meredith lead.
The defense handled a Panther surge in the sixth and finished off Ferrum with three outs in three batters in the seventh for the win.
Cerasi pitched a complete game for her seventh career win. She struck out five batters, allowed three hits with one run but none earned. Panther Courtney Rudd earned her fifth loss allowing another double-digit hitting effort from Meredith with four earned runs and four strikeouts.
The Avenging Angels close out the USA South regular season Sunday playing host to Baldwin. Head Coach Kim Scavone and her team will celebrate the four-year career of senior Alyssa D'Arco in between games of the league doubleheader. First pitch is slated for Noon.