by Benny Benton
RALEIGH, N.C. – After spending the weekend playing six games in Raleigh at the Shaw Challenge, the Barton College softball team will return to the City of Oaks on Wednesday for two more contests, this time playing a noon doubleheader against Saint Augustine's University at Buffalo Road Park.
The Lady Bulldogs went 2-4 in the Shaw Challenge, defeating a pair of the Lady Falcons' Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) rivals, Elizabeth City State University and Virginia Union University.
The doubleheader is the first of three consecutive road dates for Barton (2-6), which is still waiting to make its home debut due to February's extensive inclement weather.
No live stats or video are available for today's game. However, Barton softball fans can find post-game results and follow the Lady Bulldogs throughout the season on www.BartonBulldogs.com and via social media including Twitter and Facebook.
Barton College Softball
The Lady Bulldogs enter the contest on a good note, having posted an 8-0 six-inning shutout of Virginia Union in their last game. Senior Autumn Pittman threw a one-hitter, striking out eight. Freshman Lindsey Sharpe went 2-for-2, including a home run, and drove in three runs. Rachael Jordan also had a two-run homer, and Megan Kelly produced a two-run single in her only official at-bat of the game.
Kelly, a freshman from Plymouth, N.C., led Barton in the Challenge with a .563 average (9 for 16) and .611 on-base percentage. Senior Amber Weaver batted .400 with three doubles, and freshman Kelsie Conner hit .375 with a home run and team-high four RBI.
For the season, Kelly is batting .474 with a .524 on-base percentage. Weaver and Conner share the lead team with 5 RBI each, and junior transfer Betsy Braswell leads the squad with five runs scored.
Pittman went 2-0 on the mound at the Challenge for the Lady Bulldogs, giving up just four hits over 10 innings with 13 strikeouts. Sophomore Ashlyn Reagan suffered two of the pitching losses despite a 3.38 ERA.
For the season, Pittman leads the starting staff with her 2-0 record and 4.50 ERA, while Reagan is 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA.
The Bulldogs last played Saint Augustine's in the season-opener to the 2012 season, posting a 12-0 five-inning win at the Shaw Challenge.
Saint Augustine's University Softball
The Lady Falcons recorded a 17-12-1 mark last season that was the program's first winning season in 10 years.
Nine players return for 2014, led by the sister duo of junior Jo'Landa White and sophomore Daja White. Both players were named Daktronics All-Atlantic Region and Daja White was selected Daktronics Honorable Mention All-America.
The White sisters led the CIAA last season with eight home runs each. Daja White also ranked second in the league in RBIs (38) and stolen bases (30) and fourth in batting average (.476). Jo'Landa White drove in 29 runs and batted .422.
Pitcher/infielder Hannah Stutts was also a key contributor for the Lady Falcons. She ranked second in the CIAA in batting average (.493) and tied for fifth in home runs (5). Stutts and pitcher Michelle Shackelford combined for 13 wins on the mound and 92 strikeouts last season.
Saint Augustine's was off to a 1-6 start heading into Tuesday's road games at Voorhees College (results unavailable). Half of those losses came at the Shaw Challenge, where the Lady Falcons went 0-3.
Barton and Saint Augustine's shared one common opponent in the tournament, West Virginia State University. The Lady Bulldogs lost 5-0 to the Yellow Jackets, while the Lady Falcons were stung 14-5.