RALEIGH, N.C. -- The East second-seed Meredith College softball Angels knocked off the visiting East fifth-seed Ferrum Panthers Friday in round one of the USA South Tournament. Kelsey Mabe launched back-to-back doubles to score two of three runs in a 3-0 game one victory, and Eran Artigues advanced on a walk in the seventh inning of game two in a two-run frame for the sweep.
The Meredith defense finished off the Panthers one-two-three to open the game, and Kelsey Mabe led off in the bottom of the frame with a triple. Haley Ervin drove her home for a quick 1-0 lead.
The duo repeated in the third with another triple from Mabe, who scored on Ervin's at-bat. Ferrum placed runners on first and second in the fifth, but Brittany Bucklin threw Maddie Ols at first to get the Angels out of the inning unharmed. In the bottom of the inning, Ervin advanced on a two-out single, and Sarah Watson walked. Ervin stole third and scored on an RBI-double down the right field line from Artigues for a 3-0 advantage.
Bucklin opened the sixth throwing out the lead-off batter from her knees, and Julia Allsbrook and Erica Occena handled the next two Panthers to get out of the frame. Taylor Jackson continued to dominate from the circle and struck out the final Panther to secure the win in the top of seven.
Game two played out as a pitching duel between Jackson, who pitched her second complete game on the day, and Ferrum's Courtney Rudd. Both teams combined for three hits through the first six scoreless innings to bring the Avenging Angels up to bat in the top of seven.
Alyssa Drake entered to run for Artigues and advanced to second on a passed ball. The extra base proved invaluable as Bucklin drove in Drake with an RBI-single to center. Rachel Peel scored Bucklin with a double deep to right center as insurance, but the Angels did not need the extra run. Jackson struck out two Panthers looking in the bottom of the frame, and Occena finished of the third with one of many stellar plays in right field.
Jackson allowed four hits in her two seven-inning shut outs with seven walks, striking out six. Panther Ashton Lambeth earned the loss in game one, and Rudd allowed four hits with two earned runs, one walk, and eight strike outs in her ninth season loss.
Meredith travels to LaGrange, Georgia, next weekend to face off with West fourth-seed Covenant, who swept West three-seed LaGrange earlier today. The teams are slated to play Friday, April 13, at 10 a.m. at the Shuford Softball Complex.