COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Spring Hill College softball team opened the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Divisional Crossover Tournament by falling 13-3 to 9th ranked Shorter University and 3-2 to Emmanuel College at South Commons Softball Complex on Thursday night.
In the first game, the Badgers built a quick 3-0 lead over the Hawks (28-6, 10-2 SSAC East) off three hits in the bottom of the 1st inning, chasing Shorter starter Lauren Millsaps just four batters into the game. A run-scoring double to left-center by freshman catcher Jade Bourgeois highlighted the early fireworks for Spring Hill.
The Hawks responded with two runs off three hits and a Badger error in the top of the 3rd inning and SHC starter Linsey Dickerson (6-9) surrendered a leadoff homerun to Hawk 3rd baseman Bre Johnson in the 4th inning to tie the game at 3-3.
Shorter would later take an 8-3 lead with a 5-run, 6-hit 5th inning and stretch the advantage out to 13-3 with a 5-run 7th inning.
Dickerson took the loss for the Badgers in six innings pitched with 14 hits, a walk and two strikeouts while Kristen Little (7-2) picked up the win in relief for Shorter in seven innings pitched with five hits, three walks and eight strikeouts.
Bourgeois and right fielder Katelyn Hinson each had a pair of hits and an RBI for Spring Hill and Shorter's Amanda Dailey was 4-for-5 with an RBI in the game to pace seven Hawks with multiple hit performances.
In the second game against the Emmanuel Lions (18-12, 4-8 SSAC East), Kathryn Ingles (4-5) of Spring Hill and Holly Springer (1-1) of Emmanuel fought a classic pitchers' duel as neither pitcher allowed a run through three innings until the Lions scratched across an unearned run off a groundout to short in the bottom of the 4th frame.
Badger 1st baseman Jenny Laird answered the Lion score in the top of the 5th inning with a double down the left field line that plated left fielder Mariha Partman and knotted the score at 1-1.
A successful squeeze bunt by the Lions in the bottom of the 5th made it 2-1 in favor of Emmanuel and then Springer helped her own cause with an RBI-single to left field that extended the lead to 3-1.
The Badgers sliced it to a 3-2 game in the 6th when 2nd baseman Melanie Alterio lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Hinson, but Spring Hill would be set down in order in the 7th inning by reliever Kinley Hallman who netted her second save of the year.
Springer lasted five innings with three hits, four walks and a strikeout in the win while Ingles went 4.1 innings in the loss with five hits, no walks and a strikeout.
Hinson collected two more hits in the nightcap and right fielder Lindsey Hearn and 2nd baseman Brittany Smith each had a pair of safeties for the Lions.
Spring Hill (10-14, 0-2 SSAC West) will continue play in the three-day event on Friday with Brewton-Parker College (19-14, 3-7 SSAC East) at noon followed by Truett-McConnell College (5-21, 1-11 SSAC East) at 2 p.m.