by Kevin Buczek
WILSON, N.C.-The Barton College softball team will begin Conference Carolinas action on the road this weekend before finally making its home season debut later in the week. The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to play at Belmont Abbey College on Saturday and at Limestone College on Sunday. Both doubleheaders at scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
Belmont Abbey will not be providing any live stats due to numerous other home events on Saturday. Limestone will be providing Live Stats for Sunday's twin bill.
Barton College Softball
The Lady Bulldogs are coming off a non-conference split at Saint Augustine's University on Wednesday and a 2-4 performance in the Shaw University Challenge last weekend. Barton (3-7 overall) went 5-15 in Conference Carolinas competition in 2013.
Barton has nearly as many RBI as its opponents, 44-41, but 19 errors over the first 10 games have led to 18 extra costly unearned runs. Ten Lady Bulldogs already have multiple RBI on the season. Senior Amber Weaver paces the group by driving in six runs. Senior Kendra Kassonie and freshman Kelsie Conner follow closely behind with five RBI apiece.
Freshman Megan Kelly boasts a team-best .481 batting average. Two other Lady Bulldogs have played in every game and are batting over .300 in Weaver (.346) and sophomore Rachel Jordan (.320). Junior Betsy Braswell is batting .273 but has a .485 on-base percentage with a team-high eight walks.
Jordan and Braswell have scored a combined 13 runs while Kelly and Weaver each have four extra-base hits.
Kelly, who is riding an eight-game hit streak, is finishing her first month of collegiate competition ranking second in the conference in batting average.
On the pitcher's mound, sophomores Ashlyn Reagan (4.14 ERA) and Liz White (4.33) have tossed 46 of the Lady Bulldogs 61 innings. Senior Autumn Pittman is 2-0 and has a 3.50 ERA in two starts against CIAA opposition.
The Royal Blue and White posted a pair of shutout victories over Belmont Abbey last season by scores of 10-0 and 14-0. White highlighted the sweep with a five-inning no hitter in the first game. Pittman hurled a two-hit shutout in the nightcap.
Barton lost a pair of six-inning games against Limestone last season by scores of 10-1 and 11-1.
Belmont Abbey College Softball
The Crusaders were swept by Southeast Region foe Coker College on Friday but did open up league play two days earlier with an impressive 3-0 and 6-3 sweep of Erskine College. Belmont Abbey (4-15 overall, 2-0 conf.) was just 3-17 in the conference last season.
Freshman Dani Marietta (.318) and senior Kinsey McClure (.296) are the only two Crusader regulars batting over .250. Marietta also leads the Abbey with seven RBI, six runs and six extra-base hits.
BAC has given the ball to either sophomore Catelyn Presley (2-5, 3.21 ERA) or classmate Samantha Jacobs (2-8, 3.80) to start 15 of 19 games.
Limestone College Softball
The Saints have lost four straight games entering the weekend but still maintain a winning overall record of 8-6. Limestone will host Tusculum College on Saturday before hosting Barton on Sunday. The Saints tied for second place in the league last season with a conference ledger of 14-6.
Limestone has five regular starters batting at least .300 in senior Ashley Cox (.368, 10 runs, 7 stolen bases), freshman Bailee Maybry (.366, 12 RBI, 6 extra-base hits), junior Alycia Stiles (.364, 8 runs, 5 doubles), sophomore Paige Bolding (.348) and senior Leea Polin (.300, 9 RBI).
LC lost a pair of senior starters that accounted for 82% of the squad's innings pitched last season. A trio of Saints have been sharing time on the rubber including freshman Klinnin Carson (2-2, 2.78 ERA), junior Kelly Shearer (3-3, 4.45) and senior Taylor Wigmore (3-1, 6.11).