VIRGINIA BEACH — Ferrum College’s Ashton Lambeth drove two proverbial stakes into the heart of two-time reigning NCAA Division III national champion Virginia Wesleyan University Saturday.
Lambeth (14-6), a junior righthander, tossed a four-hit shutout and drove in the game’s lone run with a sacrifice fly to leftfield in the top of the third inning as the Panthers edged the Marlins, 1-0, in the 2019 regular-season finale for both teams.
Virginia Wesleyan won the first game of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) doubleheader 5-0 as junior lefthander Hannah Hull, the two-time Division III Player of the Year, raised her record to 22-1.
Besides winning the last two national championships, Virginia Wesleyan is the three-time reigning ODAC champion and entered the doubleheader ranked No. 1 in Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
Ferrum, conference foe Randoph-Macon College and nationally-ranked Christopher Newport University are the only teams to defeat Virginia Wesleyan (18-2 in the ODAC, 34-3 overall). The setbacks to the Panthers and the Captains were in one-run games; the difference in the defeat to the Yellow Jackets was four runs.
All three losses are in the second games of doubleheaders.
With the win, Ferrum secures a berth in next week’s postseason conference tournament at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem. The Panthers will likely be seeded seventh in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.
The Panthers managed only three hits off sophomore righthander Carla Hall (11-2), a former prep standout at Franklin County, who has 21 career wins to her credit. Hall went the distance for the Marlins.
Two of Ferrum’s three hits were doubles by shortstop Keri Hamlett and designated player Allison McGehee. The other hit was a single by senior second baseman Cheyenne Strickland.
Hamlett, Strickland, McGehee and Lambeth were the top four hitters in Ferrum’s game two batting order.
Hall, who faced 27 batters, walked three and hit a batter, while striking out three.
Hamlett came home from third on Lambeth’s sacrifice fly. She led off the third inning with her double and advanced to third on a wild pitch.
In scoring the run, Hamlett was able to beat a throw to the plate.
The Marlins advanced runners to second and third in the bottom of the third, but failed to score.
Lambeth, who faced 25 batters, allowed four hits and a walk in a complete-game showing.
Jessica Lindsay belted a double, while Madison Glaubke, Jessica Goldyn and Katelyn Biando each registered a single.
McGehee and Kassie Widner each stole a base for the Panthers, while Glaubke and Goldyn each swiped two bases for the Marlins.
Virginia Wesleyan third baseman Julia Sinnett turned a double play .
Each team played error-free defense.
Hull threw a no-hitter and struck out 15 in the Marlins’ first game win. A hit batter denied her a perfect game as it accounted for Ferrum’s lone base runner.
Ferrum committed four errors.
Virginia Wesleyan scored its initial run in the bottom of the first and maintained a 1-0 edge until the last of the sixth when the Marlins manufactured four runs.
Three of the Marlins’ seven hits were for extra bases: doubles by Sinett, Biando and Maria Weddle, who also had a sacrifice fly.
The Marlins stole nine bases in 10 attempts.
Despite their four errors, the Panthers did turn the game’s lone double play.
Starting righthander Jasmine Agee (5-13) was charged with the loss despite a complete-game effort.
Agee permitted five its and two walks. Only of the five runs for which she was responsible was earned.
Hull’s 15 strikeouts gives her a career total of 1,005. She is the 25th player in Division III to record 1,000 or more career strikeouts.
Ferrum’s softball, baseball and football teams have defeated reigning national champions during the college’s Division III tenure, which began in the 1985-86 academic year.
This season, the Panthers are 3-3 against teams that have been nationally ranked this season with splits against Virginia Wesleyan, Randolph-Macon and the University of Lynchburg.
Randolph-Macon was ranked during the season, but not when the Yellow Jackets played Ferrum.
The Hornets were ranked No. 15 when they played Ferrum and they’re 22nd in the most recent NFCA poll.