GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Freshman Savannah Hughes belted three home runs and drove in seven runs over two games to pace Furman to a doubleheader split versus Binghamton 9-11, 11-2 in non-conference softball action Thursday at Pepsi Stadium.
Game 1: Binghamton 11, Furman 9
In the opener, Binghamton plated six runs in the top half of the fourth inning to grab a 7-0 lead and held on the edge Furman, 11-9.
The Bearcats recorded six hits in the six-run fourth inning, capped by Allison Pritchard's two-out, two-run double off of the third base bag to open up a 7-0 lead. Furman answered with five runs of its own in the bottom of the frame. Marissa Guimbarda began the inning with a solo blast, her ninth of the season, and Mackense Greico followed two batters later with a two-run shot to left field. Hughes homered to right-center and Cammy Pereirafollowed a base on balls with an RBI triple to trim the deficit to 7-5.
Binghamton answered immediately with three runs in the fifth with the help of three Furman errors. The Paladins trim the lead back to 10-8 with three of their own in the bottom of the inning as reliever Chelsea Howard issued a pair of walks to set the stage for Hughes' second homer of the day, a three-run blast to left field.
After Binghamton increased the lead to 11-8 in the sixth, Furman threatened to rally in the seventh. Taylor Vahle reached on a one-out double and scored on Hughes' double into the gap, but Howard got a strikeout and a fly out to end the rally.
Rayn Gibson (4-4) picked up the win allowing five runs on five hits in four innings while fanning six. Howard tossed three innings of relief to earn her second save of the season.
Guimbarda, making her first start of the season, took the loss for the Paladins after allowing seven runs on nine hits in three and one-third innings of work.
Stephanie Ragusa batted in three runs and Sarah Benn went 3-for-5 at the plate to lead the Bearcats. Hughes finished 3-for-4 with a double, two homers and five RBIs in game one for the Paladins.
Game 2: Furman 11, Binghamton 2 (5 inn.)
The Paladins fashioned a nine-run third inning and got three hitless innings of work from Emily DeMonte to cruise to an 11-2 win in game two.
DeMonte (7-9) allowed just a walk over three innings of work and struck out five Bearcats to earn the victory. After Greico put the Paladins in front with an RBI single in the first, Furman exploded to score nine runs on nine hits in the bottom of the third. Guimbarda started the scoring with a two-run single and Hughes and Greico followed with back-to-back home runs. Tess Griswold drove in a run, Pereira laced an RBI double to right field and Vahle capped the outburst with a two-run homer to the opposite field to put Furman ahead 10-0.
Vahle went 3-for-3, scored three runs and drove in two, while Guimbarda, Hughes and Greico went a combined 5-for-6 with six RBIs. DeMonte helped herself by going 2-for-3 with an RBI single.
Howard (2-1) suffered the loss for the Bearcats (7-10) after surrendering six runs on eight hits in three innings.
Furman (8-18) opens Southern Conference play with a 1 p.m. doubleheader versus Chattanooga at Pepsi Stadium on Saturday. The series finale is slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
All three Furman contests this weekend will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network and live statistics will be provided through StatBroadcast. Links for both will be available at FurmanPaladins.com.