|Softball Sweeps La Salle for Fourth A10 Win|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Behind a pair of stellar pitching performances and the right amount of offense, the Charlotte 49ers softball team swept the visiting La Salle Explorers, 1-0 and 6-1 Friday. The Niners (19-18; 4-6 Atlantic 10) have now won four consecutive A10 games to climb back into the standings, while La Salle (6-26; 0-8 A10) remains winless in conference.
Highlighting the day was the bat of Briana Gwaltney, who homered for the 12th and 13th times of the season in game two. With the pair, the junior left fielder has broken the single-season record set by Tenaya Tucker last season.
The Niners won the first game, 1-0 on a pitchers' dual between rookies Lexi Betancourt and Alicia Aughton, who combined for 11 hits in the contest.
Charlotte drove in the lone run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman catcher Jackie Kleinsmith got things started with a single to center field and junior third baseman Chelsea Stamey followed up with a double to left center that advanced Kleinsmith to third. Designated player Chelsea Ingersoll then stepped up with an RBI-groundout that proved to be the game-winner.
La Salle's best scoring chance came in the fifth inning, when it had runners in scoring position with no outs after back-to-back singles and a wild pitch. But Betancourt settled down and got the next two batters, Emily Morgan and Kristin Travers, to strike out, before Breanna DiTommasso flied out to end the inning.
Betancourt (12-8) allowed no runs on five hits in the complete game shutout. She struck out six and walked two. Aughton (6-12) allowed one run on six hits with three K's in a complete game effort of her own.
Stamey and La Salle's Linnette Siedler were the only players to tally multiple hits in the game, each going 2-for-3.
Game two began with a similar feel as the first, with the two squads locked in a one-run game until the sixth inning.
Charlotte put a run on the board in the bottom of the first, when junior first baseman Kalie Lang's bases-loaded single scored Lorena Vela. The home team added another in the third when Gwaltney hit her first homer of the game for a 2-0 lead.
La Salle got a run back in the fifth, when pinch hitter Alyssa Bitsimis walked and scored on a double by shortstop Megan Hodgson.
Leading 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Charlotte put runners on second and third after Stamey reached on an error and Ingersoll singled through the left side. Holloman laid down a sacrifice bunt that put the pair in scoring position to set up rookie center fielder Alex Rogers, who stepped up to the plate and belted a two-run triple to left center.
Two batters later, Gwaltney gave her team a 6-1 lead, driving home Rogers on a ball that sailed deep over the left field fence.
Three 49ers - Rogers, Gwaltney, and Lang - picked up multiple hits in that contest, including Gwaltney, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Hodgson led the Explorers with a 2-for-3 effort and an RBI.
Sophomore Katie Watkins (6-10) earned the complete game victory, allowing one run on five hits. She struck out nine and walked three. Aughton (6-13) was again strapped with the loss, surrendering six runs (two earned) on nine hits in 6.0 innings. She struck out two and walked one.
Charlotte takes a break from conference play to face Gardner Webb next, playing a road doubleheader Wednesday, April 11th. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.