Courtney Auger broke the Seward County Community College single-game strikeout record for the third time this season on Friday, striking out 18 batters to help the Lady Saints sweep Colby Community College in a Division I Region VI doubleheader in Colby. Auger pitched a nine-inning complete-game shutout with 18 Ks in game one, where Seward broke a scoreless tie in the ninth inning to win 4-0 on a grand slam by freshman Cara Russell. SCCC completed the sweep with a 5-0 victory in game two, with Russell throwing a complete-game shutout. Seward County has now won four straight games and improves to 18-13 overall and 9-1 in Division I Region VI competition. Colby has now lost four of its last six, and is 12-15 overall and 2-6 in Division I Region VI play.

In Seward County’s season opener, Auger struck out a school-record 15 batters against Lamar C.C. Then, in her first meeting with the Lady Trojans in Liberal on March 12, Auger recorded 17 strikeouts while throwing a one-hitter in the seven-inning contest. Friday’s outing against Colby had to be the finest of them all, considering the game was tied 0-0 through eight innings of play.

Auger posted at least one strikeout in every inning, including striking out the side in the first, third, eighth and ninth innings. The freshman right-handed pitcher threw a total of 146 pitches, including 93 pitches for a strike. Overall, she struck out 18 of the 35 batters she faced while allowing only three base hits.

The big inning for Seward County came in the top of the ninth inning when freshmen Katelyn Glenn, Alyssa Fandrick and Jamie Gilbert loaded the bases on three consecutive singles with nobody out. On a 1-1 pitch from Colby pitcher Kari Panno, Russell sent her first grand slam, and second home run of the season out of the park to left field to give Seward County a 4-0 advantage.

That was all the offense Auger would need as she struck out three of the four Lady Trojans batters in the bottom of the ninth inning. Auger is now fourth in the nation in strikeouts (166), and as hard as it is to believe, only needs 55 strikeouts to break the Seward County all-time record for career strikeouts.

Seward County out-hit Colby 10-3 in game one, behind a 2-for-5 game from Jennifer Collins and a 2-for-4 performance from Tasia McEntire. Defensively the game was well played with Seward not committing an error, and Colby tallying only two errors in the extra-inning game.

Russell pitched her second shutout of the season in game two, allowing seven hits and striking out five batters. All but one SCCC player recorded a base hit, with Collins (2-for-3), sophomore catcher Melissa St. Clair (2-for-4) and Fandrick (2-for-3) leading the way at the plate.

The Lady Saints capitalized on a four-run second inning, which was sparked by five hits, including RBI singles from sophomore Rachel Adaza, Fandrick and Gilbert.

In four games against Colby this season, Seward County out-scored the Lady Trojans 25-1, allowed Colby to hit .130 (12-for-92) from the plate, and the SCCC pitchers recorded 41 strikeouts in 28 innings.

Seward County has won 10 straight games against the Lady Trojans, and owns a 14-4 series advantage over Colby since 2005.

The Lady Saints will be back at home on Sunday, March 30, hosting Cloud County Community College (1-12, 0-4) for a Jayhawk West Conference and Division I Region VI doubleheader at Lady Saints Softball Field scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.