Belmont Abbey sophomore pitcher Samantha Jacobs fired a complete-game shutout, fanning 13 batters and scattering three hits in the opener, while Catelyn Presley struck out eight in the nightcap as the Crusaders softball team defeated Erskine in both games of a Conference Carolinas doubelheader this afternoon at Crusader Field. The Abbey rode Jacobs's strong perfomance to a 3-0 win in game one, and it sealed the sweep with a 6-3 win in the nightcap. Belmont Abbey improves to 4-13 overall and 2-0 in Conference Carolinas, while Erskine drops to 3-9 overall and 0-2 in league play.
The game one shutout was the Abbey's first since March 19, 2013, an 8-0 win over Edinboro, and the first against a conference opponent since March 1, 2013, a 3-0 win over Lees-McRae.
Game one was all Crusaders, as Jacobs struck out 13, scattering three singles, as the offense gave her the only run she would need in the first.
Jacobs worked around a leadoff single in the top of the second. After Ashlyn Hicks was sacrificed to second, Jacobs fanned the last two batters of the inning to escape unscathed.
Two innings later, Jacobs avoided her only major trouble of the game, as the Flying Fleet put runners at second and third with one out. Jacobs forced a lineout to third and ended the threat with a masterful off-speed pitch to end the inning with a swinging strikeout.
In the bottom of the frame the Abbey broke through with another run courtesy of an Erskine error. Kinsey McClure lifted a routine flyball to leftcenter that was dropped. She reached second on the error and scored on Mackenzie Dziendziel's single to right center to increase the lead to 2-0.
Erskine threatened again in the sixth but again Jacobs worked out of it with a pair of strikeouts. Ericka McCarson reached on a leadoff error and stole second. Jacobs then fanned Hicks. After McCarson stole third, Jacobs ended the inning with a strikeout.
Belmont Abbey closed the scoring in the bottom of the frame. Marietta reached on a fielder's choice, moved to second on a groundout by McClure and raced home on Jena Reisanauer's single to center.
Jacobs ended the game with two strikeouts in the top of the seventh to earn the win.
The Crusaders finished with four hits as four different players all had singles. Jacobs walked two and gave up three hits, all singles.
Danica Newton took the loss after giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits. She struck out two.
In the nightcap, the Crusaders jumped ahead early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first, two on a homer to left center by Kaitlyn Jones. Marietta later scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Amber Faust. Belmont Abbey sent nine batters to the plate in the inning.
Erskine pulled one back in the top of the second but the Abbey matched it in the bottom of the frame. Jones ripped a one out single to left and scored from first on Marietta's line drive single to right center, the first Abbey triple of the season, which increased the lead to 4-1.
Belmont Abbey added to its lead in the fourth, taking advantage of two Erskine errors to score two runs and widen the lead to 6-1.
Erskine scored two in the fifth to cut the lead in half, but that was all it would get as Presley retired the final seven batters of the game, three by strikeout, to seal the win.
Presley gave up just four hits, all singles, while striking out eight. Only two of the three runs were earned.
Candace Fitch was saddled with the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in a third of an inning.
Belmont Abbey finished with a season-high 11 hits-its first double digit output of the year-as Jones finished 3-4 with two RBI. Marietta and McClure both had two hits.