MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Robbin Kennedy’s two-out single in the bottom of the seventh kept the inning alive and Erika Taylor’s single to right-center brought Kennedy home with the winning run as Mount Olive defeated Pfeiffer 4-3 in game one of a Conference Carolinas softball doubleheader Saturday at Nancy Chapman Cassell Field. Allison Czerski drove in three runs and Lauren Darden pitched three scoreless innings in relief for the win. The Trojans completed the sweep with an 8-4 victory in the nightcap as Kayla Voorhees’ bases-loaded triple highlighted a six-run fourth inning.
Mount Olive (13-21 overall, 4-3 Conference Carolinas) saw an early two-run lead disappear in the opener and entered the bottom of the seventh tied 3-3. After the first two Trojan batters were retired, Kennedy lined an 0-2 pitch to centerfield for her first hit of the game, then advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Taylor blooped a pitch to shallow right-center and the ball dropped in the middle of a trio of Pfeiffer fielders. Kennedy slid across home plate well before the throw for the winning run.
Czerski’s two-run single in the bottom of the first gave Mount Olive a 2-0 lead and the Trojans had the bases loaded with only one out. Pfeiffer relief pitcher Melanie Conklin (3-4) got a flyout on her first pitch and Falcon centerfielder Bryttny Kreshka threw Czerski out the plate tagging up from third to end the inning.
Snyder retired the side in order in the top of the first, but Pfeiffer (14-24, 5-9) tied the game in the top of the second as Sarah Waylock led off with a single and Heather Nobles sent the first pitch she saw 225 feet to straightaway centerfield. The home run was Nobles’ seventh of the season.
Czerski walked with the bases loaded to put Mount Olive back on top, but Pfeiffer tied the game in the fifth after Kylie Nichols led off with a double and scored on Amber Johnson’s single. Darden (4-11) caught a bunt pop-up and doubled up Johnson on first, then ended the inning with a ground out.
The fifth-inning run would have put Pfeiffer ahead, but Trojan centerfielder Mandy Hensley prevented a run in the bottom of the third. Hensley dove and cut off Waylock’s drive to the cap on one bounce, holding Waylock to a single and keeping Johnson at third. Snyder retired the next batter on a ground out to short to end the inning.
Darden worked around a one-out single in the sixth and escaped trouble in the seventh with two baserunners when an interference call resulted in an inning-ending double play.
In the nightcap, Mount Olive scored single runs in the first and third innings before breaking the game open in the fourth. Kennedy drove in the first run with a bases-loaded ground out. Kelly Minshew tripled with two outs in the third and came home on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 2-0.
Kennedy and Taylor led off the fourth with back-to-back singles and Aubrey Reinhard walked to load the bases with one out. Pinch-hitter Courtney Bell was hit by the first pitch to bring in the first run and Katie Devenuto drew her second walk of the game to make it a 4-0 game.
Voorhees then drove the first pitch she saw opposite field down the right field line all the way to the fence to clear the bases. Voorhees, who was 3-for-4 in game two, scored on Czerski’s ground out to give Mount Olive an 8-0 lead and put the Trojans three outs away from a run-rule victory.
Pfeiffer stayed in the game as Mariah Chalk’s leadoff double led to a three-run fifth inning for the Falcons. Pfeiffer added a run in the seventh, but Trojan reliever Sarah Saunders closed out the game with a pop-out to Reinhard at first.
Trojan starter Kristin Ware (5-4) had a four-hit shutout through four innings before allowing five hits in the fifth, three of which were infield singles. Ware came out of the game with one out after taking a line drive off her shin. Saunders ended the rally with a fly out and a ground out, and finished the final 2 2/3 innings.
Mount Olive plays host to Belmont Sunday at Nancy Chapman Cassell Field for a Conference Carolinas doubleheader. Game time is 2 p.m. Pfeiffer plays host to Francis Marion in a non-conference doubleheader Thursday at 2 p.m.