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Bucklin Ends Career Atop Meredith Softball RBI Record

Brittany Bucklin

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Meredith College softball team closed out the 2018 season with a four-game, non-conference, weekend road series. Senior Brittany Bucklin ended her four-year career as the program leader with 120 runs batted in and started in every game since joining the Avenging Angels softball program in 2015 to lead both categories with 164.

The Avenging Angels faced off with USA South newcomer Pfeiffer University Friday with a five-inning, 8-0 loss in game one of the doubleheader, followed by a 4-3 battle forced into extra innings ending in favor of the Falcons. Meredith capped off the season Saturday first finishing the February 28 game at Guilford, suspended due to lack of daylight, with an 11-10, eight-inning victory. The Angels closed out the season with a 9-0 shutout in the final game of 2018. The game one win over the Quakers was the 52nd of Taylor Jackson's four-year career in the circle, placing her in a tie with Amanda Beirne, '14, as the program's all-time leading pitchers.

vs. Pfeiffer
The Angels struggled at the plate in game one of Friday's action as Pfeiffer's Kennedy Lester earned her 11th victory leading the Falcon's in a five-inning no-hitter. Kyndall Wallace closed out the victory pitching to Meredith's final three batters.

Meredith started rookie pitcher Payton Aldridge in the circle, and freshman Emily Clemmons entered in relief in the bottom of the fourth to finish out the game.

In game two Kelsey Mabe led off with a single, and Erica Occena and Sarah Watson followed suit. Mabe and Occena each stole a base to set up Watson for an RBI to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead.

Pfeiffer responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, including one unearned, but Watson notched two more RBIs in the top of the second to put the Angels out front 3-2. Myah Morse struck out the Falcons' leadoff batter in the bottom of the frame but walked the next three batters to load the bases. Pfeiffer walked in the tying run before Meredith closed out the inning with a double play in the next at bat.

Pfeiffer squashed the Angels' aggressive base running in the fourth and fifth innings, picking off Occena and preventing Eran Artigues from reaching second on a strong hit to center field. Meredith's infield held the Falcons in the eighth to keep the game alive. After a one-two-three inning for the Angels, Pfeiffer closed out the game with a pair of extra-base hits in the bottom of the ninth for the win.

Morse pitched the complete game striking out seven Falcons with three earned runs. Kiana Millsaps earned her 21st win allowing no hits and striking out two in seven batters faced.

vs. Guilford
The offensive battle of Saturday's game one began in late February but was suspended in the fourth inning with the teams tied at nine. The Quakers jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but a three-RBI homer from Julia Allsbrook kept the Angels in the mix. Bryce Smith drove in two more runs with another dinger in the third to tie Guilford.

Bucklin maintained the pressure batting in two of her three runs in the fourth, and Maria Annunziata launched one over the center field fence to extend Meredith's advantage to 9-5.

The Quakers kept the game interesting scoring four of their own in the bottom of the inning, where the teams picked up yesterday afternoon.

Neither team scored during the fifth and sixth innings, returning the Avenging Angels to the dugout still even at nine in the top of the seventh. Artigues walked, and Smith moved her to second. Allsbrook advanced Artigues to the corner with a single, and Charley Cox finished the play with an RBI-single in the next at-bat. But the Quakers ended the inning with a double-play to leave two Angels stranded and a one-run lead. 

A Meredith infield throwing error allowed Guilford to tie the game in the bottom of the stanza, sending the game into extra innings. The international tiebreaker rule placed Occena on second and Watson sacrificed to move her to third. Bucklin earned her record-setting RBI with a sacrifice fly driving in Occena for the eventual win.

Game two of the Guilford play day previewed next year's lineups for both teams. Morse recorded her sixth win on the season pitching the complete game.

Cecilia Coleman recorded her second hit on the season with a three-run homer to left field in the second frame. Madison Hamilton's triple down the right field line in the fourth scored Meredith's seventh run, and Peel wrapped up the win with two-of-four game-high RBIs in the sixth driving in Mabe and Alyssa Drake, who both singled to lead off the inning.

With nine seniors leading the way Meredith recorded 28 wins on the season, tying last year's record-setting total.