FERRUM, Va. -- The Meredith College Avenging Angels softball squad recorded a 1-1 split Saturday versus the host Ferrum Panthers to finish the regular season as the East Division's second seed. Twelve hits and Taylor Jackson in the circle led Meredith to a 9-3 win in game one. But a five-run, fifth inning from the Panthers in game two left Ferrum with a 6-2 win for the split.
Meredith and Ferrum will meet again next weekend in USA South Tournament round one action for a best of three series. The teams face off in a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday, April 7, in Raleigh with a Noon deciding game set for Sunday, if necessary.
NOTE: Admission will be charged for all tournament dates: $6 adults, $3 students/children.
Ferrum scored in the second inning on a two-RBI double, but the Angels responded in the top of the next frame.
Rachel Peel walked, and Erica Occena singled to setup an at-bat from Kelsey Mabe resulting in a run on an infield misstep. Occena scored on Haley Ervin's at-bat to tie the game. The Panthers added another run thanks to a Meredith error, but the Avenging Angels stranded two with the third out on the next at-bat to keep the game close.
A scoreless fourth returned Meredith to the dugout, and Sarah Watson advanced on a single. Maria Annunziata scored Watson with another double, and Brittany Bucklin drove in Annunziata to edge the Angels into the lead 4-3.
Hits from Occena, Mabe, and Watson, along with Ervin, who was hit by a pitch to advance, led to three more runs in the sixth to extend Meredith's advantage. Jackson forced three playable outs in the bottom of the frame to keep Meredith out front.
Occena doubled in the seventh and Mabe followed her home with a two-run dinger to secure the win for Meredith.
Jackson pitched a complete game to earn her 12th win on the season. She earned a pair of runs on seven hits with two walks, striking out four. Panther Ashton Lambeth earned the loss earning six runs on 12 hits.
Meredith appeared to control the pace of game two with a leadoff double from Mabe. Ervin singled, and Mabe stole home for an early 1-0 lead. The defense held Ferrum, and Julia Allsbrook stepped up in the second with a double to left. But Ferrum's Courtney Rudd struck out the next two Angels to end the inning.
Both Myah Morse and Rudd pitched a one-two-three frame in the third, and Rudd followed suit in the fourth. Ferrum drove in a run in the bottom of the inning, and Jackson entered in relief for Morse to close out the frame 1-1.
Meredith struggled again at the plate, and the Panthers opened up the game in the bottom of the inning scoring five runs on five hits. Bucklin posted a sac-fly in the seventh scoring Eran Artigues, who doubled down the third-base line. But Rudd forced a pair of pop-ups to finish off her ninth win on the season.
Jackson recorded the loss in game two, earning all five runs in the fifth.