FULTON, Mo. - The softball team took the early edge in the race for the 2019 SLIAC championship with a doubleheader sweep on Tuesday over Westminster, whose team was favored by SLIAC coaches to repeat as conference regular season champions.
Greenville and Westminster have met in two of the last three SLIAC tournament championship games with the Panthers winning the tournament and the last three automatic bids to the NCAA national tournament.
On Monday, the two teams agreed to play the doubleheader originally scheduled for Wednesday on Tuesday, and the Panthers took game one 9-5 before capping the afternoon with a 8-5 win.
In game one, Greenville took the 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Kayla Zimmerman scored on an error by the catcher.
Westminster took the lead 2-1 in the bottom of the first, but the Panthers received an RBI single from Alyssa Delgado in the top of the second to tie the game at 2-2.
Westminster regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the second and went to the fifth inning with a 3-2 lead over Greenville.
In the top of the sixth, Meaghan Stone singled, and Katie Myers scored on an error by the second baseman for a 7-3 advantage.
The Blue Jays rallied to score twice in the bottom of the seventh, but it was not enough to overtake the Panthers.
Reigning SLIAC pitcher of the week Caitie Opp started the game in the circle for Greenville and went two innings, allowing three runs.
Speaks relieved Opp and gained the win with five innings while limiting Westminster to two runs.
Game two saw Greenville take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Beth Mersinger provided an RBI single.
Westminster tied the game with a run in the top of the third, but Farr smacked an RBI double in the top of the fourth to give the lead back to Greenville.
In the top of the sixth, the Panthers extended their lead to 3-1 with a solo home run from Holzhauer, and Westminster tightened the game to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth with a run.
Greenville's bats provided an extended inning in the top of the seventh as they scored five runs.
Olivia Shipman gave Greenville an RBI single, Zimmerman had a two-run single, and Stone and Mersinger provided RBI singles to increase the lead to 8-2.
The Blue Jays scored three times in the bottom of the seventh but were eventually retired by Stone.
Stone completed the game in the circle for the Panthers with seven innings. She allowed five runs, four earned, on 10 hits, walked one, and struck out three.
The Panthers (12-4, 6-0 SLIAC) travel to Eureka, who is undefeated at 4-0 in SLIAC play, for a doubleheader at Noon on Saturday.