COLUMBUS, Ga. ---- The No. 19 Auburn University at Montgomery softball team split a pair of games at the Southern States Athletic Conference Softball Tournament Friday, defeating defending champion Belhaven, 5-0, in the opener, but falling to No. 6 William Carey, 2-0, in the final game of the day at the South Common Softball Complex.
In the opener, Brandi Richards (12-9) tossed a four-hit shutout, striking out seven to keep the Warhawks (36-17) in the winner's bracket.
Haley Johnson drove in a pair of runs with two hits, including a double. Richards also added two hits at the plate, while Shea Driggers and Kacie Ryal collected RBIs.
Taylor Bryan paced the Blazers offense with two hits, while Shelby Watson took the loss after allowing five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Driggers put the Warhawks up for good in the first inning with a RBI double, plating Richards who singled one hitter earlier.
AUM extended its lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning, when Ryal singled home courtesy runner Katie Cornelius.
The Warhawks put the game out of reach in the fifth inning, as Johnson laced a two-out, two-run double.
In the nightcap, Cassie Daniels allowed just four hits, but her defense let her down, as four errors played a key role in the outcome. Daniels allowed two runs, while striking out nine and walking two in a losing effort.
The Crusaders (46-8) pushed across both runs in the third inning, putting together four consecutive singles, capped by a two-run hit by Kelsey Jo Smith.
AUM had its opportunities to plate runs, as it left runners in scoring position in the first, fourth, sixth and seventh innings. For the game, the Warhawks left six runners on base.
Johnson and Laci Driggers paced the offense, both connecting on doubles.
The Warhawks will return to action Saturday, when they await the winner of the elimination game between No. 12 Shorter and No. 16 Brenau. Each team stayed alive in the tournament with three victories on Friday. AUM's game is slated to begin at 11 a.m. central.