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Defending Champs Hold Off Softball for a Sweep on Opening Day

Maria Annunziata

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The top-ranked and defending Division III National Champion Virginia Wesleyan Marlins held off Meredith College softball on Sunday's opening day, 5-1 and 12-2 (5-innings). Senior pitcher Taylor Jackson opened the day with a strong showing in the circle in game one, but shaky gloves on the Meredith defense allowed the Marlins a quick win in the nightcap.

Game 1
Jackson pitched a complete game in the opener with four strikeouts, two base-on-balls, and five earned runs in six hits.

Meredith's lone run came in the top of the fifth as Brittany Bucklin opened the frame with a walk. Maria Annunziata ripped a ball to left center scoring Bucklin and advanced the third as VWU tried for home.

Virginia Wesleyan's Hanna Hull managed the remainder of the game from within the Marlins' circle striking out 17 Avenging Angels with the solo earned run.

Game 2
Meredith struggled in the field throughout the second game but finished the day with six hits on the day. Rookie Alyssa Drake recorded a pair of RBI in the top of the fifth to put the Angels on the board. Sarah Watson advanced on a single, Erica Occena walked, and both advanced a base on a wild pitch. Drake singled through the left side to score both in her collegiate debut.

Bucklin hit a double in the first inning to advance Kelsey Mabe who advanced on a single through the right side. Julia Allsbrook opened the third inning with a single and advanced on Watson's first single on the day. Allsbrook would reach third before the Marlins defense ended the inning.

Myah Morse recorded the loss with four base-on-balls and four earned runs, and Payton Aldridge faced 26 batters in four innings with one strikeout, four base-on-balls, and four earned runs.

The Avenging Angels host Shaw University Thursday, Feb. 22, beginning at 2 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for today but was moved to avoid rain earlier in the weekend. Emory & Henry and McDaniel travel to Raleigh for a weekend of softball at Meredith.