Threes were wild for the Barton Community College softball team Monday as the Cougars earned another doubleheader sweep on the season taking two games at McPherson College. The Cougars scored three run in three different innings to capture a 10-2 six inning victory before adding two more three run outburst in the nightcap winning 7-1 securing their eleventh straight victory improving to 30-2 on the season. Barton will have a quick turnaround hosting Williston State College on Tuesday in a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader at Cougar Field before welcoming the spring break returning to the field on Monday, March 21.
The Cougars were a little sloppy out of the gate committing two errors in the first three innings resulting in two unearned McPherson runs. Barton countered the miscues creating opportunities beginning in the second as Jenna Hosey and Payton Summers drew leadoff walks. Holly Posegate forced in the first of three runs on an RBI groundout with McKenna Mauler delivering the go ahead run with a line drive to left as an outfield error allowed Summers to score before Lili Ertmann's groundout forced in Mauler for another run.
McPherson also did their fair share of helping the Cougars score following up an unearned run in the second with another in the third. Cadie O'Donnell led off the inning with a single then stole second base before a passed ball and an infield error trying to erase Hosey's walk and attempted stolen base would allow O'Donnell to trot home for the Cougars' fourth run.
Barton and ace Madison Didion held the Bulldogs in check maintaining the 4-2 lead into the fifth inning where the Cougars would begin icing the game with three runs. Summers drove in the first with a two-out single with Posegate completing her three RBI game driving home two with a single to center. An Ertmann single would then open up the sixth but it took a two-out rally with Wood delivering an RBI single and Hosey coming through with a two RBI single to put the game out of reach.
Didion, who received the conference pitcher of the week for the fourth time this season, secured the win with eight strikeouts surrendering only two hits and no earned runs improving to 16-1 on the season. Mauler and Wood collected two hits each accounting for four of the Cougars' nine hits.
The top of the lineup got things going for Barton in game two leading off the third inning with a Maddison Schofield walk followed by O'Donnell forcing an infield error on an infield hit. Wood loaded the bases two batters later being hit by pitch setting up Hosey's sac fly producing Barton's first run.
Posegate was keeping the Bulldog batters in check striking out three in the first two innings but ran across trouble in the home half of the third as McPherson strung together three consecutive two-out singles to tie it at one.
The Cougars struck back in the next half inning with Ertmann and O'Donnell singling to center setting up Jayden Gonzales' two out single to right scoring the pair. With pinch runner Caitlin Molyneux replacing Gonzales on the base paths, Molyneux swiped second base and then made the Bulldogs pay for an infield error on Wood's ground ball speeding around the third base bag and crossing the plate pushing Barton's lead out to 4-1.
Posegate pitched around jams in the fourth and fifth stranding a pair of runners getting a strikeout to end the fourth while getting help from battery mate Ertmann in gunning out her second base runner of the day to help erase the fifth inning threat.
Kaylie Doll, inserted for the slumping Schofield, led off the sixth with a ball in the dirt the Bulldog shortstop couldn't handle. One pitch later Doll moved into scoring position as O'Donnell fought off a full-count in drawing a walk. One batter later and like a Cougar lying in wait, Brittany Wood belted her thirteenth long ball of the season sending the three-run shot to center moving into a tie for the third most in NJCAA Division I and jumping into the second spot in runs batted in.
Posegate, who earned conference player of the week for her performances last week at the plate, controlled the circle for the final two innings only allowing a two seventh inning single while adding two more strikeouts. Striking out a season high seven, Posegate didn't allow a walk while scattering ten hits improving the sophomore's campaign to 13-1 on the season.