Back-to-back shutouts as No. 7 Marlins sweep at Guilford

Back-to-back shutouts as No. 7 Marlins sweep at Guilford

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Virginia Wesleyan College's No. 7-ranked softball team has moved within one doubleheader of finishing the regular season as the Old Dominion Athletic Conference's (ODAC) top team for the fourth straight year.

The Marlins moved closer on Sunday with their second sweep in as many days as VWC rolled to 9-0 (6 innings) and 10-0 (5 innings) victories over the host Quakers of Guilford College.  Guilford and Emory & Henry College's Wasps, who lost twice to VWC on Saturday, both entered the games with 20+ win records.

Virginia Wesleyan is now 16-2 in the ODAC and closes out the regular season at home on Saturday, April 18, hosting the current second-lace team, the Maroons of Roanoke College. The doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. and is part of VWC's 7th Annual Strike Out Cancer Day.

On Sunday at Guilford, the Marlins took care of striking out the Quakers, as senior pitchers Kristina Karagiorgis (Ashburn/Briarwoods) and Mary Shipp (Virginia Beach/First Colonial) knocked out a combined 17 batters.  While Karagiorgis struck out nine in the opener and recorded her seventh shutout of the season, Shipp added a career-high eight in the second game.  Karagiorgis, now 13-2, surrendered just two hits and Shipp, now 12-2, gave up only three.

But, while the Quakers (21-13, 9-7) were strapped at the plate, Virginia Wesleyan (26-4) banged out 23 hits en route to running its current winning streak to 14 consecutive games. Juniors Courtney Bogan (Round Hill/Woodgrove) and Kayla Dost (Bristow/Nokesville Brentsville), and Karagiorgis, all extended hitting streaks to six straight games. 

Bogan produced a 5-for-7 day with the bat, including a double, recorded three runs-batted-in, and stole four bases, that latter all in the first game.  Dost hit 4-for-6, driving in five runs, helped by a pair of doubles and her first home run of the season. Sophomore Liz Bailey (Chesapeake/Greenbrier Christian) and rookie Sami Pearce (Powhatan/Powhatan) both contributed three hits, junior Taylor Galvin (Virginia Beach/Kempsville) ripped a double in each game, and Kayla Malkos (Roanoke/Cave Spring) added a triple to the array of hits.

VWC led 5-0 through five innings in the opener and put things on ice with a four-run sixth inning, that opened with a single up the middle from Pearce. The Marlins used a Guilford error and three more hits, including a Galvin RBI-double, to score three more times for a 9-0 lead.

Karagiorgis and the VWC defense ended the game in the bottom of the inning, putting the Quakers away in order.

Ashley Boteler (Manassas/Osbourn) took the pitching loss and dropped to 3-2.  She faced 24 batters in 4.1 innings, striking out two, walking two, and allowing eight hits. Courtney Lackey (North Wilesboro, N.C./West Wilkes) finished for the Quakers.  Rache Howard (Efland, N.C./Cedar Ridge) hit a double to highlight Guilford hitting in the game.

Virginia Wesleyan grabbed a 3-0 lead with three runs in the top of the second inning in the second game, fueled by singles from Bailey, Pearce, and Bogan. A Galvin lead-off double started a four-hit inning that led to two runs in the top of the third, and VWC extended its lead to 7-0 in the top of the fourth after rookie Cassety Howerin (Dover, Del./Caesar Rodney) and Dost hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the inning.  The home run was Howerin's third of the season.

Shipp faced only 19 batters in five innings, scattering three singles.  Tyler Miles (Burlington, N.C./West Almanance) dropped to 4-2 in the pitching circle, taking the loss for the Quakers, who used three pitchers overll in the game.