ROCK HILL, SC— The Winthrop softball team received two strong pitching performances and pounded out 24 hits and 15 runs to earn a doubleheader sweep of Gardner-Webb, Tuesday evening at Terry Field.
The Eagles captured the first game of the day 9-1 in six innings before taking the nightcap 6-0 as they improve to 19-18 overall and even their league mark at 7-7. Gardner-Webb falls to 11-25 overall and 1-7 in the league.
Junior Sutton Watson, who recently returned from an injury, tossed a one-hit shutout while recording seven strikeouts an issuing just one walk as she improves to 7-5 on the year. Watson had her no-hit bid broken up with two outs in the sixth inning when Samantha Meenaghan guided a single just over the head of Alex White at first base. Watson also turned in a good performance at the plate by going 2-for-2 and driving in her first career RBI.
It was the first seven inning shutout by the Eagles since Mar. 1 this year in a 3-0 win over Wagner at home. The two wins also secure the Eagles second series victory in league play this season.
Senior Sara Allen turned in a solid pitching performance in game one of the doubleheader as she kept the Runnin’ Bulldogs bats in check for most of the game. Allen improved to 8-8 on the year after tossing a complete game allowing one run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Allen also provided the first run of the game with a home run down the left field line, her first of the season and second of her career.
“I just think we played a complete game today,” said Winthrop head coach Mark Cooke. “I was real happy for our kids. They came out and put together the total game. We had great solid defense. We had a couple of errors but we did play hard. Our defense really carried us. Both games today were just complete games for us. Sutton threw the ball well and Sara threw a great game the first game.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, Winthrop scored three runs in the second behind an RBI double from Paige Haley, a sacrifice fly from Watson and an RBI single by Naomi Stevens. Winthrop’s three runs in the sixth came off the bat of senior McKenzi Corn as she blasted the first pitch over the right field fence for a three-run homer.
Ashley Rhyne took the loss for the Runnin’ Bulldogs as she allowed six runs on 11 hits with four walks and three strikeouts to fall to 3-12.
Winthrop scored three runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings to open up the series against Gardner-Webb with a 9-1 victory in six innings.
Corn had three hits and drove in three while senior Alex White had two hits and two RBI, including the eventual game-winning two-run double in the third inning. There were seven different players that recorded a hit (five that had multiple hits) and six different players with an RBI.
In the fourth inning, freshman Maddie Antone hit her team-leading fifth home run of the season with an opposite field poke over the left field fence. Later in the inning freshman Megan Winningham had an RBI double and Corn an RBI groundout for a 6-0 lead.
The first game ended in the sixth as Winthrop loaded the bases with no outs. Corn provided a two-run single and then with the bases loaded and one away, Kelsey Ritter drew a walk to that ended the game due to the run rule.
Corn, White and Winningham all finished with four hits on the day while Corn had six RBI while nine different players drove in a run. Stevens and Mel Andrea each finished with three hits.
Gardner-Webb’s lone run came in the fifth inning as Megan Champion ripped a single past third base and Jill Blank was able to score from second base.
Jessica Childers suffered the loss in the circle for Gardner-Webb after allowing six runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work and is now 7-13 on the year.
Winthrop hits the road this weekend for a three-game series at Campbell starting with a doubleheader on Friday at 4 p.m.