Bryan Softball Shuts Out Columbia 15-0 On Senior Day!
DAYTON, Tenn. – The Bryan College softball team fought through the rainy and cold conditions on Saturday to capture an impressive 15-0 shutout of fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference foe Columbia College (S.C.). The run-rule victory was made even sweeter due to the fact that it was the Lion’s 2018 Senior Day, honoring the graduating trio of Ashley Brown, Courtney Bonaiuto, and Marissa Murray. With the win, Bryan improved to 8-9 in the AAC and 11-26 overall while Columbia fell to 4-11 in conference play and moved their overall record to 7-14.
Olivia Johnson was Bryan’s commander in the circle, tossing all five innings and recording the shutout to improve her record to 6-9 on the season. She ended with a clean slate, surrendering a mere four hits. The rest of the defense supported her by committing just a lone error, and the offense packed a punch with 13 total hits.
The Lion’s hits leader was Brown, shining on her Senior Day with a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate to go along with a double, one RBI, and a team-high three runs scored. The duo of Murray and Hannah O’Shields matched each other with two hits apiece. Murray doubled and tallied a pair of runs driven in, while O’Shields had a dominating day with a homerun, double, and three RBI. Sydney Olander also collected three RBI to tie O’Shields for the team-best and swatted a triple. The long shot by O’Shields marked her fifth of the year, which leads the team. Lindsey Dunn capitalized on her only at-bat, registering a triple and two RBI. Leslie Beecham nearly reflected Dunn’s outing, going 1-for-1 with a double and one run batted in. Others to make the hit’s list was Heidi Smith, Tesla Huling, and Courtney Petty who produced one hit, respectively. Smith and Huling chipped in RBI apiece.
The short contest came down to three big innings by Bryan, beginning with the bottom of the first when Bonaiuto reached base on a Columbia error and continued her way around the bases as O’Shields took the second pitch thrown her way and sent a line drive over the fence in left-center, putting the Lions in front 2-0.
Bryan continued turning on the heat despite the bitter cold of the day. In the bottom of the second, Brown kept the relentless attack by the Lions going with a leadoff double to deep right-center. A passed ball allowed Brown to take scoring position at third. Dunn followed with a walk, but on the next play Murray helped score Brown and advance Dunn with an RBI single to center. Next up was Huling who put a ball to short and beat the throw to successfully reach base while scoring Dunn in the process. With Murray on third, she took advantage of a passed ball to post another run. Smith trailed with a single to center, bringing Huling home. The Koalas made the decision to pitch to O’Shields again, giving way to an RBI double ripped to deep right-center. As the lineup came back around, Brown notched another hit, this time a single that scored O’Shields. To put the finishing touch on the eight-spot, Dunn smashed a two-run triple, her third triple of the season, scoring both Kimberly McKernie and Brown for a 10-0 lead.
After a quiet third inning, Bryan tacked on five more insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth frame to end all hope of Columba. The Koalas managed two quick outs but were unable to close the stanza as Brown sparked another rally for the Lions with a single. Beecham stepped to the plate and rocketed a double to left, scoring Brown. Murray forced Columbia into a pitching change after a consecutive double that brought home Beecham for the score. Petty, unshaken by the new arm, singled to short to put runners on the corners. Olander delivered the final blow to the Koalas with a triple that also saw an error, allowing her to score from third for the last run of the game, sealing the 15-0 win.
Weather forced the second game of the day to be called off. Bryan remains home next week as they play host to another conference challenger in Truett McConnell University (Ga.) on Wednesday, Apr. 11 with the twinbill set for 2pm. The Bears are receiving votes in the latest NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 poll and own a conference record of 11-5 and overall record of 26-12.