BELMONT, NC - The Belmont Abbey softball team split a double header with Barton this afternoon. The Crusaders move to 3-15-2 in 2017 with a 1-3 conference mark, while the Bulldogs move to 12-11 on the year and 1-1 in Conference Carolinas play.
In Game 1, Barton scored early, but the Crusaders responded in the bottom of the first when freshman Brianna Embler scored on a passed ball, which advanced junior Anna Mixa to second. In the second inning, the Bulldogs took the lead back. The Abbey threatened in the bottom of the inning as Brooke Pegram made it to third on a wild pitch, but the Crusaders were unable to bring her home.
The offense continued to play well in the third. Embler got on base and stole second. Then senior Mackenzie Dziendziel singled her over to third. Embler scored, while Dziendziel advanced to second on a wild pitch. Later in the inning, freshman Melissa Neyhouse doubled in Dziendziel to pull the Abbey within a run at 4-3.
The Belmont Abbey defense did not give up any Barton runs over the next few innings. The Bulldogs scored twice in the sixth. Then in the seventh, Mixa singled in Alexis Pereiro. The Crusaders, however, were not able to get any more runs, and Barton took the first game 6-4. Mixa led the Abbey offensively, going 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
In game 2, Barton again scored early, and Belmont Abbey again responded in its half of the first. Two Crusaders walked and senior Dani Marietta singled in Dziendziel to tie the game at one. Catcher Katherine Starnes then walked to load the bases, but the Abbey was unable to capitalize from there.
Barton scored in the third and fifth to go up 3-1. It was the last time the Abbey defensive unit would give up any runs. Freshman Claire Doyle doubled in Dziendziel in the sixth to narrow the Bulldog lead to 3-2. The in the bottom of the seventh, the Abbey offense exploded, scoring four runs, highlighted by a three-run walk-off homer by Starnes. This gave the Abbey a 6-3 victory.
Starnes finished the game 2-for-3 with a run, a walk, and 3 RBIs to lead the Abbey's offensive attack. Marietta and Neyhouse each went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Sophomore Amelia Saldivar threw a complete game, surrendering just one earned run on just 82 pitches.
Belmont Abbey will next take the field on Friday, March 17, when it welcomes the Converse Valkyries for a 2pm first pitch.