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Abbey Gardner named standout softball player at LaGrange

It may have been an abbreviated 2020 season, but freshman Abbey Gardner of the LaGrange College softball team proved her immense worth on offense and defense for the Panthers.

Gardner went a perfect 4-0 in the circle, while maintaining an impressive 2.08 ERA in 33 2/3 innings of work.

She earned three complete-game wins, giving up no earned runs in two out of three of those victories. The versatile student-athlete was named USA South Rookie Pitcher of the Week on March 2.

Gardner, who hails from Bainbridge, Georgia, earned her first-collegiate win, going the distance and only allowing one earned run during a 10-1, five-inning triumph over the University of Dallas on Feb. 23. She registered her first win in a relief role during an 11-4 victory over Greensboro on Feb. 29, giving up no runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The freshman standout tallied the complete-game win in an 11-0, five-inning triumph over Judson on March 7. Gardner propelled the Panthers (7-5, 2-0 USA South) to their first conference win, grabbing the complete-game win and relinquishing no earned runs in a 5-1 victory at Huntingdon on March 9.

Gardner was equally as impressive on the offensive side. She was efficient in terms of batting average (.390), on-base percentage (.405) and slugging percentage (.610). The young woman finished with 16 hits, 11 runs, 10 RBIs, three doubles and two home runs in 12 games.

The first-year collegiate player recorded at least one hit in 10-of-12 games and posted four multi-hit performances. She reached base five times, going 4-for-4, with four runs, two doubles, an RBI and a walk, in an 18-1, five-inning triumph over Mississippi University for Women on Feb. 23.

Gardner blasted her first-career home run at Millsaps on Feb. 22, and then forced extra innings with a two-run shot in the sixth during a 7-6, eight-inning setback to Hiram on March 12. During the 11-0 win over Judson, she went 2-for-3, with four RBIs, two runs and a double.

Gardner recorded 49 putouts and 17 assists, making only two errors for a .971 fielding percentage.

As a pitcher, Gardner led the team in wins, complete games and innings pitched, while finishing in a tie for eighth in the USA South in victories. The infielder ranked first on the team in home runs and was tied for first in runs scored.