The Belmont Abbey softball team opened the 2016 season in dominating fashion, sweeping the visiting Wingate Bulldogs by scores of 7-1 & 9-3 today at Crusader Field in the season opener for both teams.
Belmont Abbey rapped out 18 hits and scored 16 runs in two games as third baseman Sloane McPeak drove in six runs.
In the opener, the Bulldogs struck first with an unearned run on a passed ball in the first, but the Crusaders answered with two runs in the third to seize control of the game. McPeak lined a single to the gap in right center, scoring Alexis Pereiro and Brooke Pegram.
Two innings later, MacKenzie Dziendziel delivered a two RBI single, chasing home Pereiro and Pegram to move the lead to 4-1.
The scoring ended in the sixth with three runs, as Pegram started the rally with an infield singe that scored Katherine Starnes. McPeak followed with a single to right that chased home Dziendziel and Jena Reisenauer closed the scoring with a ringing single to left that brought home Pegram.
Crusaders starter Samantha Jacobs made the lead stand up, as she retired 15 straight batters after allowing a second inning double. She allowed an unearned run on three hits, striking out two and walking one.
Rachel Weidner took the loss after giving up seven runs, three earned, on 11 hits in six innings. She struck out five and walked two.
Pegram led the Crusaders with three hits in four at bats, with Reisenauer and Dziendziel both adding two each.
In the nightcap, the Crusaders jumped Weidner for seven runs in two innings, plating two in the first and five more in the second.
In the first, McPeak opened the scoring with a double to right that scored Dziendziel, then Britany Ortiz followed with her first career RBI, perfectly executing a safety squeeze that chased home Pegram for the second run.
Belmont Abbey blew the game open in the second, scoring five times, two coming on a double to right by McPeak. The other runs came in on a bases loaded walk to Pegram and the other on an error off the bat of Dani Marietta.
Wingate's runs came in the third and fourth innings, scoring two in the fourth, but the Crusaders fired right back with two in the sixth. Lauren Clifford's flyout to left was deep enough to chase home Rachel Pike. Dziendziel produced the final run when she drew a bases loaded walk that scored Marietta.
Freshman pitcher Laura Williams, in her first career start, picked up her first career victory as she worked five innings, allowing three runs, only two earned, on nine hits. She struck out a pair.
Weidner went the distance in game two as she suffered the loss. She allowed nine runs, only four earned, on seven hits in six innings. She walked seven and struck out seven.
The Crusaders are back in action Saturday when they go on the road to face Columbus State.