SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – The West Liberty University softball team won its fourth straight game on Tuesday, sweeping a non-conference doubleheader at perennial NCAA Division II Atlantic Region power Shepherd.
Coach Herb Minch's Hilltoppers (8-8) took a 5-1 decision in the opener before riding the strong left arm of southpaw ace Annie Paterson to a 6-0 shutout in the finale.
Paterson, a returning All-Region standout, delivered a dominant performance in the circle. The hard-throwing lefty held the Rams (3-5) to just three singles while striking out nine Shepherd batters and walking only one.
The WLU veteran helped herself at the plate, as well, breaking up a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth and tacking on the final insurance tally with a run-scoring single in the fifth.
Paterson's RBI single scored Katie Beeman, who had doubled home a pair of runs earlier in the frame. Kieran Johnson had an RBI single during West Liberty's three-run fourth inning.
In the first game, the Black and Gold scored all five of their runs with two out in the top of the third. Kieran Johnson and Madge Weidner wrapped two-run singles around a walk to Grace Swigart.
With Swigart on third, Jairika Baylor pinch-ran for Weidner at first. Baylor and Swigart worked a double-steal to perfection with Swigart crossing the plate for the fifth run of the inning.
That was more than enough run support for Riley Bennington and Taylor Bonnett. Bennington hurled the first four innings to get the win, striking out three without walking a batter. Bonnett came on in the fifth to earn the save with three scoreless innings of one-hit relief.
West Liberty 5, Shepherd 1
West Liberty 005 000 0 - 5 6 0
Shepherd 000 100 0 - 1 6 1
WLU: Bennington wp (3SO, 0W), Bonnett (5) (3SO, 2W) and M.Blair. Weidner S, 2rbi; Johnson S, 2rbi
SU: Laing lp (0SO, 2W), Ruffner (3) (3SO, 3W) and Mantz. Davis 2S; Seymour S, rbi
West Liberty 6, Shepherd 0
West Liberty 000 330 0 - 6 7 2
Shepherd 000 000 0 - 0 3 2
WLU: Paterson wp (9SO, 1W) and M.Blair. Paterson D, S, 2rbi; Beeman D, 2rbi; Johnson S, rbi
SU: McNatt lp (1SO, 2W), Ruffner (5) (2SO, 0W) and Mantz.