HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Spring Hill College softball team split outcomes in a conference road doubleheader at 7th-ranked William Carey University on Wednesday afternoon by taking the first game 1-0 before falling 11-8 in the nightcap.
Spring Hill scored the opening game's only run in the 2nd inning off Carey starter Alyssa Boutwell (16-3) when freshman 2nd baseman Melanie Alterio drove a 2-out single into right-centerfield to score 3rd baseman Elise deBruler who had reached base two batters earlier with a double to deep left.
Badger starter Linsey Dickerson got out of a 2nd and 3rd with one out jam in the bottom of the same inning when her infielders cut down a runner at home attempting to score on a grounder to short and rang up the third out on a line drive to deBruler.
From there, both pitchers sat down opposing batters one-after-another to hold the offenses scoreless for the remainder of the game. In the bottom of the 7th inning, Carey put the tying run at 2nd base with just one out, but Dickerson coaxed the final two Crusaders to pop out to the infield for the win.
Dickerson gave up six hits in her fifth shutout of the year with three walks and no strikeouts while Boutwell allowed just four hits with two walks and five strikeouts for the Crusaders (30-7, 7-3 SSAC West) in the loss.
The Badgers maintained the momentum in the early stages of the second game as freshman catcher Jade Bourgeois lifted a sacrifice fly that plated centerfielder and fellow freshman Taylor Webre off Carey's Kelsey Jo Smith (6-0) in the 1st inning.
William Carey, however, got on track in the bottom of the 1st inning with two runs via two walks and a single to right-center by right fielder Hannah Cook-Kelley off freshman Badger pitcher Kathryn Ingles.
Dickerson (8-11) returned to the circle to start the 2nd inning for Spring Hill and was welcomed back with a leadoff double by 3rd baseman Jasmine Shelby who later scored off a single to center by Carey centerfielder Casey Alexander. Cook-Kelley made it 4-1 in favor of the Crusaders with a single to score Alexander two batters later.
A Bourgeois double in the 3rd inning that drove in senior 1st baseman Jenny Laird for Spring Hill cut the deficit to 4-2. Bourgeois struck pay dirt again in the 4th inning with a 3-run double to make it a 6-4 Badger advantage in an inning that saw the visitors rap out four hits and five runs to take a 7-4 lead.
Shelby ripped a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning bring WCU within 7-5 and then Boutwell slapped a running-scoring double in the 5th to make it 7-6. Boutwell successfully executed a double steal of home to tie the game at 7-7 and 2nd baseman Kaitlyn Perry would give the Crusaders back the lead at 8-7 with a 2-out single later in the same frame.
In the 6th, Bourgeois delivered her 3rd double and 6th RBI of the game to make it a 9-8 game with the Crusaders leading.
Carey tacked on two more runs off Ingles who rotated back to the circle in the bottom of the 6th to make it an 11-8 game headed to the 7th inning.
Dickerson took the loss for SHC in second game in four innings of relief with nine hits, two walks and no strikeouts while Smith went five innings in the win with six hits, six walks and three strikeouts. Boutwell pitched the final two innings for the save with a hit, two walks and two strikeouts.
In addition to Bourgeois' three doubles and six RBI in the second game for Spring Hill, deBruler had three hits and right fielder Katelyn Hinson added two hits.
The Crusaders were paced by Cook-Kelley with four hits on the day while Alexander and Boutwell each had three hits with Boutwell adding three RBI. Smith and Shelby along with left fielder Danielle Farnum and shortstop Kayleigh Anspach had two hits apiece for WCU.
Spring Hill (13-17, 3-5 SSAC West) will continue their current six-game road trip with a visit to Jackson, Miss., on Thursday to play Belhaven University (21-12, 7-4 SSAC West) in a conference doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.