Gardner-Webb freshman Autumn Owen

The Big South Conference announced its first set of softball weekly award winners for the 2019 season on Monday and selected Gardner-Webb’s Autumn Owen as Freshman of the Week.

The former Polk County standout began her collegiate career with a bang, collecting four hits in nine at-bats (.444) with three of those hits going for extra bases.

In Friday’s season opener, a 12-2 win over Furman in five innings, Owen singled in her first at-bat and later in the inning showed tremendous patience in the batter’s box. Facing a full count, Owen held off swinging and took ball four with the bases loaded. Her RBI walk scored sophomore Lauren Huffman.

The following day, Owen went a perfect 2-for-2 to start the day, recording an RBI triple in the first inning that gave the Runnin’ Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Later in the inning, Owen would create another RBI via a sacrifice fly. In her final plate appearance, she doubled.

In the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ final game of opening weekend, Own belted her first career home run in the bottom of the third. After an RBI triple by Annamarie Warley, Owen smacked the ball over the fence on the fourth pitch she saw and tied the game at 3-3. Gardner-Webb would fall to Furman, 7-5, on Sunday for its only defeat of the weekend.

In four games over a three-day span, Owen went 4-for-9 at the plate with a single, double, triple and home run. She batted in five runs and also scored five.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs will return to action on Friday, February 15, in the Runnin’ Bulldog Softball Tournament sponsored by Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. The ‘Dogs will play Loyola University Chicago at 2 p.m. and Sacred Heart at 4 p.m.

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