Boiling Springs, NC – Despite an 11-strike-out performance from junior pitcher Jordan Benefiel, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) softball team dropped its first two games at the Runnin’ Bulldog Classic, Friday at Brinkley Stadium, as the Governors were edged in the open by Robert Morris, 3-2, before falling to the classic’s host Gardner-Webb by a 9-3 final.
Robert Morris 3, Austin Peay 2
After building a 2-0 lead, Austin Peay State University saw Robert Morris tie the game, 2-2, in the top of the sixth inning, as the Colonels opened the inning with four straight hits.
The APSU Govs would then give up an unearned run in the top of the seventh, aided by two errors to allow Robert Morris to escape with the 3-2 win.
Jordan Benefiel (0-1) was the hard-luck loser, as she struck out a career single-game high 11 Colonels, while giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks.
The APSU Govs had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third, with Gabi Apiag opening the inning with a double, advance to third on an infield out by Morgan Zuege, and score on a fielder’s choice by Megan Hodum.
Apiag would lead the APSU Govs with two hits.
Austin Peay State University would make it 2-0 in the fifth, with Hodum reaching on a fielder’s choice and move to second base on a throwing error by Robert Morris.
After an out and a walk to Lexi Osowski-Anderson, Mea Clark would rip a single into left field, scoring Hodum for the 2-0 advantage.
Gardner-Webb 9, Austin Peay 3
In the nightcap versus Gardner-Webb, the Runnin’ Bulldogs jumped out in front, 1-0 in the first inning, on back-to-back doubles, with the APSU Govs tying the game, 1-1, in the top of the third.
Hodum would get the rally started with a one-out single and followed a Gardner-Webb error, score on a sacrifice fly by Osowski-Anderson.
Gardner-Webb would retake the lead in the bottom of the inning, 2-1, but the Govs would respond again taking the lead, 3-2, scoring two two-out runs.
Emily Harkleroad would reach on an error, then score all the way around from first on a double by Apaig, making it 2-2, then score herself two pitches later coming in on a wild pitch.
The APSU Govs would take that lead into the bottom of the fifth, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs would put away late, scoring three runs in the fifth and adding four more in the sixth for the 9-3 final.
Inside the Boxscore
Jordan Benefiel struck out a career single-game high 11 vs. Robert Morris.
Mea Clark recorded a career-high 11 putouts vs. Robert Morris.
Jordan Benefiel moved past Megan Lane (1999-02) for 10th place all-time in career strikeouts by a pitcher, with 212 career strikeouts.
Emily Harkleroad stole her 28th career stolen base vs. Robert Morris, tying Brittany Williams (2011-14) for ninth-place all-time in program history.
The 11 strikeouts by Jordan Benefiel were the most by a Govs pitcher in a game since Morgan Rackel fanned 11 vs. SIUE on May 5th, 2019.
Skylar Sheridan recorded her first colligate hit, a double, as a pinch hitter versus Gardner-Webb.
Kylie Campbell made her first career start at first base versus Gardner-Webb.
Next Up For APSU Softball
The Austin Peay State softball team continues to play in the classic on Saturday, facing Ohio at 8:00am, and George Mason at 4:00pm.