FRANKLIN SPRINGS, GA – The Belmont Abbey softball team earned a split at Emmanuel this afternoon, taking a 12-1 six-inning decision in the nightcap after falling 6-3 in the opener. The Abbey improved to 8-26-2 in 2017 and 6-14 in conference play. The Lions are now 14-26 overall, with a 6-14 conference record.
After two innings of defensive play by both teams to start the day, Emmanuel struck first with a run in the third. Belmont Abbey threatened in the fourth when a sacrifice bunt by Alyssa Sciaudone put runners at second and third with just one out. The Abbey, however, could not get the run across and still trailed by one.
In the sixth, the Crusader offense got going, with Mackenzie Dziendziel reaching first on a single. Then an Emmanuel error allowed Sciaudone to reach, advancing Dziendziel. Anna Mixa doubled to right center to bring in Dziendziel and Sciaudone, and brought The Abbey to within two runs at 4-2.
The Lions scored twice in their half of the inning to bump the margin back up to four. Then in the seventh Brianna Embler singled, stole second, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Melissa Neyhouse to make it a 6-3 ballgame. Unfortunately, the Crusaders could not provide any more offense dropped the opener.
Game two was all Abbey. Embler got the Crusaders in front in the second inning as she doubled to right field, scoring Alexis Pereiro and Katherine Starnes, who had both walked. Then in the third, Neyhouse hit a double that brought in Alexis Rogers. Mixa singled, and Starnes doubled her home for a 5-0 Crusader lead.
In the fourth, it was senior Dani Marietta earning the RBI, as she singled down the left field line to bring in Alexandra Saldivar. The pitching was also strong, holding the Lions to one hit up to that point.
In the sixth inning the Crusader offense exploded, scoring six runs on eight hits and sending 12 batters to the plate. Neyhouse hit a 2-RBI double, then went on to score on a wild pitch. Freshman Claire Doyle hit an RBI double to bring in Sciaudone, then scored on a Kelkcee Fulton single to cap off the scoring for the Abbey.
On the day, Embler went 5-for-9 with two runs and two RBIs. Neyhouse was 2-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs. Dziendziel had a 2-for-4 game in which she also scored a run. Annabeth Watkins threw a complete game in the second, giving up just one Lion run on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
Belmont Abbey will be back in action tomorrow, when it welcomes Young Harris for a doubleheader, beginning at 2 p.m.