Bryan Softball opens AAC play with sweep

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Bryan College softball team saw their first Appalachian Athletic Conference action of the year in a doubleheader against the Rams of Bluefield College (Va.).(Photo:BryanAthletics)

Bryan wins 8-1, 1-0 over Bluefield

March 2018

DAYTON, Tenn. – On Saturday the Bryan College softball team saw their first Appalachian Athletic Conference action of the year in a doubleheader against the Rams of Bluefield College (Va.). The opening contest was all Bryan as they rallied for the 8-1 victory before capturing the sweep with a 1-0 final in game number two. The pair of wins improves the Lion’s overall record to 5-11 and conference record to 2-0, while the Rams fell to 3-5 overall and 0-4 in AAC play.

Bryan jumped out to a quick lead with a run in the bottom of the first inning. It came as a result of Kimberly McKernie using patience to reach on a walk before Hannah O’Shields rattled off a triple to deep right-center that scored McKernie for the 1-0 advantage.

The Lions grew the difference in the bottom of the second frame as Marissa Murray connected on an RBI double sent to left-center and the duo of Murray and Sydney Olander capitalized on one of Bluefield’s two errors in the inning to reach home and make raise the score to 4-0.

It was in the third inning that the Rams broke their silence and charged ahead for their lone run of the game when Meredith Throckmorton watched as the count grew to 1-1 before launching a solo homerun, cutting the deficit to 4-1.

In order to prevent any hopes of a comeback by Bluefield, Bryan used three hits and took advantage of two errors to tack on four additional runs in the bottom of the sixth. Murray sparked the rally with a leadoff double knocked to center. Leslie Beecham trailed and made contact with a pitch. What looked like an out ended up being a bobble by the Rams, which kept Beecham safe and allowed Murray to reach home. Olander continued to build momentum as she singled and stole second. McKernie was hit by a pitch, which applied pressure as the bases were loaded with only one out. O’Shields came through with a two-run RBI single to left-center, scoring Beecham and Olander. Courtney Bonaiuto reached base on another bobble by Bluefield, keeping the bases loaded. Next up was Kayla Hayes who showed remarkable poise, getting the free pass to first as she was walked. McKernie scored on the play for the last run of the game, sealing a dominating 8-1 victory for the Lions.

Bryan outhit Bluefield 9-6 and was led by the trio of Olander, O’Shields, and Murray as each turned in a multi-hit performance. Olander was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, O’Shields went 2-for-3 with a triple and team-high three runs batted in, and Murray registered a 2-for-3 outing with both hits coming as doubles. Olander grabbed two stolen bags, while both Bonaiuto and Heidi Smith had one stolen base apiece. Smith aided with one hit and a pair of RBI’s. Bonaiuto and Hayes were the only other Lions to notch a hit.

Olivia Johnson was Bryan’s lone representative in the circle as she tossed a complete seven innings, allowing just six hits and one run with no walks and six strikeouts. She was awarded the win, improving her record to 3-3.

After a high-offensive display in the first game, the latter contest proved to be much quieter as Lindsey Dunn surrendered only one hit to the Rams, while the Lions only produced four hits of their own.

It took five innings for Bryan to score what would be the deciding run. Cheyenne Wilson started the bottom of the fifth stanza with a single to short. Beecham followed with a double to right, advancing Wilson to scoring position at third. The play wasn’t over though, as Wilson raced in for the score on the throw by Bluefield. The Lions held on for the 1-0 shutout to complete the sweep.

Dunn gave up a mere hit through a full seven innings. During her time in the circle, she had no walks and retired two Rams via strikeout. With the win, she now stands at 2-6 on the year.

Bryan’s four hits were compiled by O’Shields, Bonaiuto, Wilson, and Beecham.

Up next for the Lions, they’ll get one last break before entering a lengthy stretch of AAC play with a home twinbill against non-conference 23rd-ranked University of Rio Grande (Ohio) on Tuesday, Mar. 6 beginning at 1:30pm.

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