AIKEN, S.C. - The University of South Carolina Aiken softball team picked up a doubleheader split with nationally fourth-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State on Tuesday at J.H. Satcher Field.
USC Aiken (18-14-1) won game one, 3-2, in nine innings before dropping the second game, 6-2, to Armstrong (23-4-1).
The Pacers will next be in action on the road on Friday, March 29 at league-foe UNC Pembroke. Game one is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
USC Aiken's next home doubleheader is against non-conference opponent Carson-Newman on Wednesday, April 3. First pitch of game one is slated for 1 p.m.
Game 1: USC Aiken 3, #4 Armstrong 2 (9 innings)
USC Aiken was able to pick up a 3-2 extra-inning, come-from-behind win in the first game of the doubleheader with Armstrong.
Armstrong struck first by plating two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Haley Ellis drove in Andrea Dalton and Peyton Roth to take a 2-0 lead. Dalton and Roth both reached on singles.
The Pacers were able to even the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hillary Stewart (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood HS) walked to get on base and was pinch-run for by Kyle Maguire. Nicole Borden would then double to put runners on second and third with one out. Joi Chrishon pinch-ran for Borden (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles School), and both pinch runners came around to score.
Cortney Sadler singled to drive in Maguire (Irmo, S.C./Dutch Fork HS) to cut the lead in half. Kaitlyn White would then pick up a two-out single to plate Chrishon (Fayetteville, N.C./Pfeiffer) and tie the game.
Neither team would be able to score again until the extra innings. The Pacers would come up with double plays to end the Pirate threats in the seventh and ninth innings, setting the stage for late drama.
Brandy Bossle walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Sadler (Bradenton, Fla./State College of Fla., Manatee-Sarasota). One batter later, White singled to centerfield to score Bossle (North East, Md./Rising Sun HS) from second and pick up the game-winning RBI.
Armstrong out-hit USC Aiken in game one, 10-8. Four Pirates were able to collect multiple hits in the game.
The Pacer offense was led by White (McAllen, Texas/College of Charleston), who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Borden was also able to collect multiple hits in the game for the Pacers.
India Kornegay (10-7) pitched all nine innings in the victory for the Pacers. Kornegay (Eufaula, Ala./Eufaula HS) fanned 11 Pirates and surrendered only two earned runs.
Megan Barnwell took the loss in the game for the Pirates. Barnwell's record dropped to 14-3 on the season.
Game 2: #4 Armstrong 6, USC Aiken 2
Armstrong was able to pick up the victory in game two, 6-2, to deny USC Aiken the doubleheader sweep.
The Pirates were led by the bat of Alexis Mercer in their win over the Pacers. Mercer homered twice; a solo shot and a three-run homer, collecting four RBIs in a game where she was not retired by Pacer pitching.
USC Aiken was able to push across two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to cut the lead to 6-2, but was unable to complete the comeback.
Sarah Montei (Summerville, S.C./Summerville HS) drove in Bossle for the first Pacer run on a double over the centerfielder's head. Lindsey Jones (North Augusta, S.C./North Augusta HS) was able to pick up an RBI-single to complete the Pacer scoring in game two.
The Pirates out-hit the Pacers 8-6 in game two. Mercer was the only Pirate to secure multiple hits.
Victoria Burkett (Gilbert, S.C./Gilbert HS) went 2-for-4 as the only Pacer with multiple hits in game two.
Taylor Morgan (8-7) took the loss in game two, pitching a complete game. Morgan (Chapin, S.C./Chapin HS) gave up only two earned runs.
Shelby Duff (6-1) got the victory for Armstrong in game two.