LaGrange College opened its 2012 softball season with a split of a doubleheader with nationally-ranked Brenau University on Friday at the LaGrange College Softball Complex. The Panthers took the first game 3-0 before the Tigers (1-1) came back to win the second game 10-1.
Kayla Folds (1-0) shut down the Tigers, ranked fifth in the preseason NAIA national poll, with a complete game two-hitter in the first game. Folds walked three and struck out five. She retired 12 of the first 13 batters she faced.
Danielle Newbern hit a grounder back to Maness, who threw wildly to home, allowing Folds and pinch-runner Lindsey Hogan to score on the play to make it 2-0. Burgering scored the third run of the inning on a passed ball.
Brenau put two runners on in the fifth with one out but Folds pitched out of the jam. She did not allow a runner to reach second the final two innings.
In the second game, Newbern gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with a home run to center off Jenny Shepherd (1-0). The Tigers came back with two runs in the third off starter Amanda Stukel and reliever Christy Flick (0-1) to go up 2-1.
Brenau broke the game open with seven runs in the fourth inning. The Tigers had only three hits in the inning, taking advantage of three Panther errors in the game that led to six unearned runs.
The game ended in the fifth inning. The Tigers pushed across two more runs to make it 10-1 and retired the Panthers in the bottom of the inning to end the game on the eight-run mercy rule.
The two teams play another doubleheader Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. with the first game. The doubleheader was scheduled to begin at noon, but the threat of inclement weather forced the time change.