AIKEN, SC -- Sheena Blackwell hit a sixth-inning go-ahead home run in the nightcap as USC Aiken (3-6) salvaged a split in a non-conference softball doubleheader with visiting North Greenville (2-2) Saturday afternoon at J.H. Satcher Field.
The Crusaders rallied to take game one 6-3 before the Lady Pacers won game two 2-1.
After dropping the first game, USC Aiken struggled for offense for much of the second game and looked to be heading towards another loss. Fortunately, freshman hurler Stephanie Ott kept the Lady Pacers in the game, and Blackwell delivered the game-winner in the sixth.
With one out in the frame, Candice Hardee reached on an error by the shortstop. Blackwell stepped in and ripped the first pitch she saw over the wall in left for the lead. It was the senior’s second home run of the season.
After keeping the Crusaders’ offense off-balance for most of the game, Ott allowed a leadoff single to Christina Shin in the top of the seventh. However, after a fielder’s choice, the freshman southpaw induced a pair of groundouts to end the game.
Ott (2-0) needed just 74 pitches in tossing her first complete game. The Beaufort, S.C., native allowed just the one run on six hits while walking none and striking out four. The Lady Pacer defense did not make an error in the contest.
The opener was a pitchers’ duel early on with a Jessica Strickland RBI single in the first accounting for the game’s only run through four innings. USC Aiken senior Kristen Cochran and North Greenville’s Krystyn Smith cruised on the mound into the fifth frame.
The Crusaders finally got to Cochran in the top of the fifth, getting an RBI each from Shealy Broome and Allison Bailey to take a 2-1 lead.
The Lady Pacers and senior Amber Driggers responded in the bottom of the frame. Driggers blasted a solo home run, her first of the season, with one out to tie the game. Freshman Jennifer Day then plated a run with an RBI single as USCA took a 3-2 lead.
The Lady Pacers defense struggled behind Cochran in the top of the sixth, committing two errors that led to four unearned runs for the Crusaders. USC Aiken did not threaten in their last two innings at the plate.
USC Aiken had eight hits in the game, including two apiece from Driggers, Strickland, and Day. The Crusaders also had eight hits, including two-hit games from Hope Brewer, Bridget Watson, and Bailey. North Greenville did not make an error in the game, but four USCA errors led to four unearned runs.
Cochran (0-3) took her third tough-luck loss of the season, allowing six runs, just two earned, on six hits while walking five and striking out three in 5.2 innings. The senior has an earned run average of just 1.88 without getting a victory.
Article posted from www.pacersports.com
North Greenville……................... 000 024 0 - 6 8 0
USC Aiken.................................... 100 020 0 - 3 8 4
Win – Smith; Loss – Cochran (0-3).
E – Crump 2(3); Sidaway 2(3). LOB – Crusaders 8; Lady Pacers 7. 2B – Brewer; Shin; Lakes (2). HR – Driggers (1). HBP – L. Eargle. SH – Broome; Shin; Watson. SB – Brewer; Bailey 3; Shin; Watson 2; Strickland (4); Day (2); Blackwell (2). CS – Hoffman.
North Greenville……................... 000 100 0 - 1 6 1
USC Aiken.................................... 000 002 0 - 2 4 0
Win – Ott (2-0); Loss – Smith.
E – Brewer. LOB – Crusaders 5; Lady Pacers 6. 2B – Shin. HR – Blackwell (2). SH - Yeoman. SB – Lakes (2); Strickland (5); Bashline (1).