McPHERSON–The McPherson College softball team opened its 2018 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) slate with a doubleheader split against Tabor College Saturday afternoon at Bulldog Park.
The Bulldogs (14-12, 1-1 KCAC) took game one, 4-2, behind a two-run homer by Jenna Christensen and an eight-strikeout game in the circle from Christie Betker. The Bluejays (10-15, 2-2 KCAC) took game two by a 5-4 score.
Game 1–McPherson 4, Tabor 2
McPherson had an early chance fall by the wayside in the first inning. Jessica Jones reached on a throwing error to lead off the game, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and another error. She was thrown out at the plate, however, on a fielder's choice.
The Bulldogs struck for a run in the second as Ali Smith scored on a Kylecia Taylor RBI single to center.
After stranding a pair of runners in the second, Tabor tied the game with a run in the third on a Kerrigan Travers RBI single. The Bluejays reloaded the bases with one out but Betker was able to get out of the jam with as strikeout and a pop out in front of the bag at third that was hauled in by shortstop Destiny Bacon.
Bacon led off the Bulldog fourth with a single up the middle, then scored from third three batters later when Taylor Perez  beat out a hard bunt to second.
McPherson extended the lead to 4-1 with two runs in the fifth. Maile Deutsch drew a leadoff walk then scored when launched a first-pitch strike over the wall in left-center.
Tabor got one run back in the top of the sixth as Madison Primrose scored on a one-out RBI double by Raegan Ternes but left the bases loaded.
Betker scattered 10 hits and a pair of walks en route to the complete-game win.
Arizona Schraeder and Taylor Kathler each had two hits for Tabor, while Madison Byrd took the loss, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three.
Game 2–Tabor 5, McPherson 4
McPherson grabbed the early lead in game two as Jones reached on a leadoff single and scored on a ground-ball out off the bat of Christensen.
Tabor matched the run in the top of the second inning as Primrose scored on another Ternes one-out RBI double.
Both teams scored three runs in the fourth inning. Ternes drove in Brittany VanKonynenburg with an RBI single up the middle, then scored on a Dani Calder single to right-center. Calder then came across on a wild pitch.
In the bottom half of the frame, Taylor drew a one-out walk, then scored on a Perez triple down the right-field line. Perez then scored on a Jones infield single. Chelsea Conrad followed with a triple to center over a drawn-in outfield to tie the game.
After each side stranded a runner in the fifth, Tabor edged ahead with a run in the top of the sixth. Primrose opened the frame with a single to shortstop, moved to third on a pair of groundouts, then scored on a Kathler ona single through the hole at second base.
The Bulldogs had a runner reach in the bottom of the sixth as Jones reached on a two-out infield error but Conrad flew out to center to end the inning.
Betker pitched a scoreless seventh in relief, but McPherson was unable to get a runner on in the bottom half of the inning as the side was retired in order.
Marlee Baxter gave up just one hit and struck out two in 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the win in the circle for the Bluejays.
Shelby Bonn was tagged with the loss after giving up two runs on four hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings. Katy Wilson got the start for McPherson, allowing three runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Primrose, Ternes and Kathler each had two hits for Tabor, while Jones registered a pair of hits for the Bulldogs. Ternes also had a pair of RBIs.
Up next for McPherson is a home doubleheader against Ottawa University Tuesday afternoon at Bulldog Park. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.