Raleigh, N.C. - North Carolina Wesleyan's softball team opened up USA South play over the weekend, splitting a pair of league doubleheaders at Meredith College and William Peace University. Paige Pritchett blasted an eventual gamewinning two-run homer in game two of Saturday's twinbill at Meredith, while fellow junior Leanna Fann tossed a one-hit shutout in Sunday's opener versus WPU.
After dropping a 4-2 decision to the Angels in Saturday's first game, the Bishops fell behind early in game two and trailed 5-1 after two innings of play. Sophomore Carla Matthews had gotten Wesleyan on the board with a homerun to centerfield in the second, and Pritchett made it 5-2 in the third by doubling home junior Carly Creef, who had singled to lead off the inning.
The Bishops erupted for four runs on just one hit in the fourth thanks to two Meredith fielding miscues. The single hit came from the bat of junior Brittni Jones in the form of a three-run homer and put NCWC on top 6-5.
Meredith answered a pair of scores in the their half of the frame, and after scoreless fifth, Jones tied the game at 7-7 with an RBI-single that again plated Creef. Pritchett promptly blasted her first homer of the season to erase the tie and provide the final margin of victory.
Sophomore Kelsi Bailey (2-1) earned the win in relief, allowing two unearned runs on five hits over four complete. Starter Amanda Warley got a no-decision in three innings of work, while offensively, Jones went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Creef finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
On Sunday, Fann was nearly untouchable, striking out seven and holding the Pacers to just one single to right field in the first inning. NCWC gave her all the offense she would need with a run in the third and two in the fourth, all unearned. An RBI-double by Jones in the sixth provided the 4-0 final.
Jones again finished 3-for-4, and Creef and Pritchett had two hits apiece.
Unfortunately, WPU hurler Kendra Yearick returned the favor in the nightcap with a one-hitter of her own. Freshman Stephanie Humphrey had the Bishops' lone single in the top of the sixth, while sophomore Kendra Hoes had previously spoiled the shutout in the fifth when she reached on an error and eventually came around to score on a Maria Seay RBI-groundout.
Bailey suffered the tough 3-1 loss despite a solid performance, allowing three runs (all unearned) on nine hits with six K's.
Wesleyan (5-5, 2-2 USA South) continues USA South play on the road next weekend when the Bishops travel to Piedmont and LaGrange.