Raleigh, N.C. - The Battling Bishop softball team kicked off USA South play over the weekend, splitting with Meredith on Saturday before sweeping William Peace on Sunday. Junior Shelby Godwin went 2-0 on the mound, and freshman Beth Braswell drove in five runs over the two-day span to help NCWC improve to 10-6 on the season, 3-1 in conference play.
Saturday's opener at Meredith saw both teams plate a single run in the second inning. The Bishops, who left the bases loaded in their first at-bat, benefited from two errors in the second to get on the board. The Angels answered in the bottom of the frame with a bases-loaded RBI-single by Rachel Peel that knotted the score at 1-1. The same play saw freshman Meredith Mize gun down Eran Artigues at home to preserve the tie.
Braswell and MC pitcher Taylor Jackson dualed through the next three innings before NCWC loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with no outs. Jackson proceeded to get a groundout, strikeout, and pop-up to get out of the jam. Meredith took the momentum into their half of the inning and Artigues delivered with a 2-run double that plated the eventual winning runs and secured the 3-1 final. Braswell took the loss and Jackson (4-1) earned the win on the mound, while NCWC senior Kaitlyn Checkan paced the offense with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate.
In game two, Meredith opened the scoring with a run in the first without the benefit of a hit. Braswell pulled the Bishops even in the third with an RBI-single to center, only to see the Angels plate a run in the bottom of frame to go back up 2-1. NCWC's John Brackett went to Godwin in the fourth, and the junior proceeded to sit MC down 1-2-3 in her first inning of work. After a scoreless fifth, it was Wesleyan that capitalized in the sixth inning this time as three freshman delivered bases-loaded RBIs. Kayla Molivas' RBI-single to center tied the score, followed by an RBI-walk by Erica Reddeck and sac-fly by Mize to give the Bishops a 4-2 lead and eventual victory.
Godwin (3-0) did the rest in the circle, holding the Angels (7-4, 1-1 USA South) scoreless in their last two at-bats to preserve the split. Molivas finished 2-for-3 at the plate to pace the offense, while Meredith (8-5, 2-2 USA South) was led by Maria Annunziata's trio of hits.
Braswell dominated both sides of the ball in Sunday's opener at William Peace. The freshman went 3-for-4 at the plate with four RBIs to help NCWC secure a 6-0 victory, while in the circle, she tossed a complete-game shutout. Braswell scattered six hits and struck out eight over seven complete to move to 5-2 on the season.
In the nightcap, Godwin and freshman Chelsea Nixon tallied RBIs in the second, while a 4-run fourth gave Wesleyan a 6-1 lead heading into the late innings. Freshmen Nicole Mooney and Meredith Smith each delivered RBI-doubles in the frame, while Mize added a sac-fly RBI of her own. The Pacers (5-7, 2-2 USA South) made things interesting in the sixth when they plated four runs to pull within one at 6-5. Waddell provided the big blow with a bases-loaded double that scored three runs.
NCWC added an insurance run in the seventh after Checkan led off with a walk and eventually came around to score, and Braswell shut the door in the seventh to preserve the 7-5 victory and earn her first save. Godwin (3-0) picked up the win, allowing five runs on seven hits over six innings.
Wesleyan returns to action at home next Saturday when league foe Methodist University visits Edge Field. First pitch is slated for 1:00pm.