PBC Softball Daily Update - April 17: Armstrong Wins Championship!

PBC Softball Daily Update - April 17: Armstrong Wins Championship!

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No. 6 Pirates Capture 1st Outright PBC Softball Title On Tuesday

FLORENCE, S.C. - The No. 6-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University softball squad won its first outright Peach Belt Conference regular season title by sweeping Francis Marion, 1-0 and 7-6, spoiling the opener of the new FMU Softball Complex on Tuesday afternoon in Florence, S.C.

The victories extend Armstrong's current win streak to 17 as the Pirates wrap up the regular season with a 43-8 overall record and a school-best 19-1 mark in the Peach Belt. Francis Marion falls to 31-17 overal and 8-10 in the PBC.

The Pirates picked up the title-clinching game one win despite collecting only one hit against FMU pitcher Taylor Luff. The lone run of the game came in the third inning as Celia Blome was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. After a strikeout and an error, Shelby Duffsingled to second base for the lone hit of the ballgame, loading the bases with one out. After the Patriots cut down a run at the plate, an error by shortstop Lindsey Brown allowedAshley Schwab to score.

It was then up to Megan Barnwell, who fashioned a four-hit shutout, walking one while striking out seven to pick up the win. She got out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the sixth, then snared a line drive off the bat of pinch hitter Olivia Zielinski with a runner on in the seventh to preserve the win.

Taylor Luff took the game one loss, striking out 13 and giving up just the one unearned run, walking two.

Game two was an offensive showcase, comparatively, as Armstrong started off right out the gate with three runs in the top of the first inning. Baillie Temples collected an one-out RBI double, then Heather Walker squeezed home a run and Ashley Buckett drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.

An illegal pitch by Caitilin Campbell scored FMU's first run in the third, but Brittany Cooley's RBI single in the top of the fifth made the score 4-1.

Francis Marion knocked Campbell out in the fifth, plating five runs - the capper coming on a two-RBI single by Krissy Longstreet - to put the Patriots on top, 6-4. Armstrong didn't lose the lead for long as another RBI double by Temples and an RBI single by Galloway tied the game at 6-all, then a fielding error by Tristan Faile allowed Galloway to score and put the Pirates up by one, 7-6.

Barnwell again was up to the task in game two as she walked only one the final two innings to notch the win in game two and improve to 20-3 on the season. Luff (9-6) took the game two loss in relief, giving up an unearned run and two hits in 1 2/3rds innings, walking one wihle striking out one.

Temples went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs scored to pace the Pirates offensively in game two. Longstreet had two hits and two RBIs in game two to lead the Patriots.

Armstrong will now go into the 2012 Peach Belt Conference Championships as the No. 1 seed. Play begins on Saturday, April 21st, in the eight-team, single-elimination bracket at the South Commons in Columbus, Ga.

Long Ball Leads Lady Cougars Past Georgia College

Game One
Columbus – Back-to-back homeruns in the sixth inning gave Columbus State a pair of insurance runs as they defeated Georgia College by a score of 3-1 Tuesday afternoon in a Peach Belt Conference matchup at Cougar Field in Columbus, Georgia.

With one out in the sixth, Kara Gordon hit a line drive over the left-centerfield wall to give the Lady Cougars a 2-0 advantage.  Morgan Staffins then came up and hit a towering bomb to leftfield for her eighth homerun of the season.

CSU (35-18, 10-9) dodge a bullet in the top half of the frame which began with a walk and single to put runners on first and second before a passed ball advanced both into scoring position.  Frankie Walls then hit a humpback liner to second base for the first out of the inning.

Trying to intentionally walk Whitney Okvist, the ball hit off Casey Googe's mitt and got away but the carom came right back to her.  Pinch-runner Natalie Lampert broke for home on the play but then scooted back to third but Mikayla Sparks was standing there.  Sparks got in a rundown allowing Lampert to try and score, but Lampert also got in a rundown and was tagged out on the play by Googe.  With Sparks trying to retreat back to second, Kristen Gregory ended the unusual double play by tagging out Sparks.

Neither team threatened in the early innings of the game until Googe delivered a clutch two-out double in the third.  Morgan Knight started the rally with a two-out single to centerfield.  Googe smacked a double to right-centerfield scoring Knight all the way from first on the play.
An inning later, Staffins led off with a double to left-centerfield but was stranded as the next three batters got out.

Mollie Russell picked up the win improving to 17-10 on the year as she allowed an unearned run over seven innings on just three hits and one walk.  She also struck out two.  During the month of April, Russell has tossed 40.2 innings while allowing just three earned runs.

Staffins was a perfect 2-for-2 with a walk for Columbus State.  Rubio, Knight, Googe and Gordon all had a hit as well.

Sabrina Chandler suffered the loss giving up three runs on six hits and a walk over six innings of work.  She also punched out five Lady Cougars.  Haley Burnett paced the Georgia College (25-22, 9-10) offense going 2-for-3 while Mikayla Sparks had the only other hit.

Game Two
Columbus – Columbus State used three big innings to easily hand Georgia College an 11-3 defeat Tuesday afternoon in a Peach Belt Conference tilt played at Cougar Field in Columbus, Georgia.

The win improves the Lady Cougars record to 36-18 on the year and 11-9 in conference while GC falls to 25-23 overall and 9-11 in league play.

CSU ends the regular season in a tie with Flagler for fourth place but the Lady Saints will receive the fourth seed in the upcoming PBC Tournament due to their regular season sweep over Columbus State in St. Augustine, Florida.  The tournament will be held in Columbus at Cougar Field with game one beginning at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 21.

Nina Rubio and Morgan Knight both singled to begin the first inning for CSU before three straight walks to Casey Googe, Kara Gordon and Morgan Staffins forced in a pair of runs for the Lady Cougars.  Kori Waugh then hit a chopper to the third baseman who attempted to force Googe out at the plate, but the throw hit her in the head and ricocheted away allowing Gordon to score on the play as well.

Georgia College made things interesting in the fifth as the posted a three-spot cutting the deficit to just one, 4-3.  After a leadoff walk and a fielding error started off the frame, Whitney Okvist reached on a fielder's choice as the lead runner was forced out at third.  Natalie Bellanton then doubled to leftfield plating GC's first run and moving Okvist up to third.  A pop out was recorded for the second out before Haley Burnett was intentionally walked to load the bases.

What seemed to be a routine grounder to get Columbus State out of the jam was misplayed extending the inning to allow two more runs to come across for the Bobcats before Burnett was caught in a rundown to end the inning.

The Lady Cougars quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning as Knight and Googe both hit solo homeruns to start off the frame.  Later in the inning after two walks and a hit by pitch, Kristen Gregory hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield plating the final and making it a 7-3 CSU lead.

Columbus State ended the game with four runs in the sixth as Googe ripped a one-run double off the top of the centerfield fence putting runners on second and third.  Gordon singled up the middle scoring both runs before Gilliam's single down the leftfield line ended the contest.

Taylor Turner earned the win improving to 9-4 on the year as she tossed five innings.  She gave up five hits and walked a pair as she surrendered three unearned runs.  Kristen Carr tossed the final inning of the contest in relief.  The top three batters in the CSU lineup went a combined 6-for-10 with two walks, scored eight times while driving in three.

With their four homeruns on the day, the Lady Cougars now have 64 as a team, the second most in the nation.

Erica Bell suffered the loss for GC working just 0.2 innings giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits and three walks.  Haley Burnett pitched four innings allowing three runs while Kelsey Edmonson served up four runs in an inning of work.  Burnett had the lone multi-hit performance for the Bobcats going 2-for-2 with a walk.

USC Aiken Splits Doubleheader With Augusta State
 
AIKEN, S.C. – University of South Carolina Aiken sophomore pitcher India Kornegay set the all-time career saves mark in the second game of the doubleheader split between Peach Belt Conference rival Augusta State on Tuesday.
 
Kornegay (Eufaula, Ala./Eufaula HS)  now has four saves in her two seasons with the Pacers.
 
Game one was a pitcher’s duel with Augusta State gaining the edge late in the game to win 1-0. USC Aiken would gain an early lead in game two and hold on to win 2-1.
 
The Pacers and Jaguars were both held without a run through six innings in game one. Kristen Jones led off the visitor-half of the seventh inning for the Jaguars with a solo home run to left field. The home run was only the third hit of the game for the Jaguars.
 
The Pacers would be unable to answer the lone run by the Jaguars to suffer their 16th loss of the season in game one.
 
No one for either team had multiple hits in the first game.
 
USC Aiken and Augusta State would both end game one with three hits.
 
Kornegay (19-11) pitched a complete game and fanned eight batters while claiming the loss in the circle for the Pacers.
 
Emily Headrick (16-5) earned the win for August State in game one.
 
USC Aiken would rebound early in game two, scoring two runs in the home-half of the second inning. Kayla Denham (Palatka, Fla./Daytona State College) hit a double to left-center to drive in the pinch-runner, Shannon Traylor (Prosperity, S.C./Mid-Carolina HS), for the first run of game two. Denham would cross home plate later in the inning on a passed ball.
 
Augusta State (31-15, 12-8 PBC) would cut the two-run deficit in half in the fourth inning, but that would not be enough to overtake the Pacers.
 
USC Aiken was led at the plate with two hits apiece by Denham and Nicole Borden (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles School).
 
USC Aiken out-hit the Jaguars in game two, 8-5
 
Samantha Lemm (Berlin, N.J./Eastern HS) pitched four innings and gave up four hits en route to the win for the Pacers. Lemm is now 6-5 on the 2012 season.
 
Kornegay pitched the last three innings scoreless to earn her second save of the 2012 season and the fourth of her career. She also struck out six batters in game two.
 
The 14 strikeouts in the two games increase Kornegay’s career strikeout mark to 466 and her single-season strikeouts to 247. She currently owns the school record in both of these categories.
 
Heather Hughes (10-8) suffered the loss in the circle for the Jaguars in game two.
 
USC Aiken (25-16, 10-10 PBC) will next close out their week by heading to Columbus, Ga. to play in the single-elimination Peach Belt Conference Tournament on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22.