VIRGINIA BEACH -- An overflow crowd surrounded Marlins Field on Saturday for the 7th Annual Strikeout Cancer Day softball doubleheader and saw host Virginia Wesleyan College cap regular-season competition with a 3-0 and 6-2 sweep of Roanoke College.
It marked the eighth straight sweep for VWC in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) competition, as the Marlins wrapped up the top seed in the upcoming conference championship tournament for the fourth straight year. Virginia Wesleyan improved to 18-2 in the league and to 28-4 overall, while Roanoke, which entered the day in second place in the ODAC, dropped to 16-12 overall and to 11-5 in conference play.
Virginia Wesleyan, ranked No. 5 nationally and No. 3 in the Atlantic Region, never trailed in either game against the Maroons. The Marlins plated single runs in the first, second, and fifth innings in the opener and limited Roanoke to a single in each of the third and fifth innings.
Kristina Karagiogis (Ashburn/Briarwoods) pitched all seven innings for the Marlins and improved to 14-2 overall. She struck out nine batters to increase her season total to 135 and her career-best earned run average to 0.52.
Courtney Bogan (Round Hill/Woodgrove) extended her current hitting streak to eight straight games, going 2-for-3 at the pate in the first game and 3-for-3 in the second contest. She improved her current batting average to .520, which currently leads the ODAC. Bogan also record five total stolen bases in the two games, increasing her league-leading total to 42.
Sophomore Liz Bailey (Chesapeake/Greenbrier Christian) and rookie Cassety Howerin (Dover, Del./Caesar Rodney) also recorded a hit in each game for the Marlins. VWC connected for eight hits in the second contest and took the lead with a two-run third inning. The Marlins added three runs in the fourth to open up a 5-0 lead, before Roanoke closed the gap with two runs in the top of the sixth. The Marlins got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning on a Bogan single that scored rookie Kiersten Richardson (Richmond/Glen Allen).
Senior Mary Shipp (Virginia Beach/First Colonial) recorded the pitching win for the Marlins and improved to a career-best 13-2. She struck out six batters, walked one, and scattered five hits. Kelly Higbee (Midlothian/Cosby) took the loss for Roanoke and dropped to 10-10.