Abbey Gardner named standout softball player at LaGrange

Published 2:02 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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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.

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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.