BELMONT, N.C. - The Belmont Abbey softball team dropped both games of a doubleheader to the visiting Pfeiffer University Falcons this afternoon at Crusader Field, as it was edged in both contests by scores of 5-4 and 2-1. The wins up the Falcons record to 17-28 overall and 7-11 in Conference Carolinas, while the Abbey drops to 10-30 overall and 3-11 in Conference Carolinas.
In the opener, Pfeiffer scored first in the top of the third on Kirsten Patterson's RBI single that scored Hannah Jackson. The Falcons added to their lead in the fifth, scoring two runs on a homer to left center by Celia Dew.
The Crusaders got on the board in the bottom of the fourth to shrink the gap to 3-1. Amber Faust led off with a single to left and scored on Aleisha Peek's double to right center.
Pfeiffer answered right back in the fifth to widen its advantage to 5-1. Emily Workman led off with an infield single, was sacrificed to second by Jackson and moved to third on a single by Patterson. She scored on a wild pitch to move the lead to 4-1. Ashlee Ellen's groundout to second scored Patterson from third to increase the lead to 5-1.
The Abbey began its threat on Pfeiffer's lead in the bottom of the fifth, scoring one run. Carol-Anne Sherrill led off the inning reaching on a throwing error that allowed her to get to second. Kelly Schweizer deposited a single to left center, moving Sherrill to third, but the ball was bobbled, allowing Sherrill score on the miscue to close the lead to 5-2.
Pfeiffer was held scoreless in the sixth, and the Abbey made it a game in the bottom of the frame. Sherrill's single up the middle scored Rebecca Mateo, who entered the game as pinch runner for Katie Childers, who reached on a fielder's choice. Chelsea Elmore cut the deficit down to one as she came home on a Pfeiffer error off the bat of Schweizer.
The Falcons put a runner on base in the top of the seventh, setting the stage for the Crusaders in the bottom of the frame, but the side was retired in order.
Lindsey Russell picked up the win as she held the Abbey to four runs, two earned, on seven hits in five and two-thirds innings. She walked two and struck out two. Melanie Conklin, who began the game in centerfield, was credited with the save after she retired all four batters she faced in the last inning and a third, striking out one. Nikki Faust was saddled with the loss. She yielded five runs, four earned, on seven hits in five innings.
Patterson led the Falcons with three hits in four at bats. Workman added a pair. Drew drove in two runs. Pfeiffer totaled nine hits. The Abbey finished with seven as Peek totaled two in three at bats, driving in a run.
In game two, both teams scored in the first as both teams loaded the bases with nobody out, but only one run crossed the plate for both teams. Jackson gave Pfeiffer the early lead with a bases loaded single that scored Workman. A strikeout and a pop out ended the threat.
In the bottom of the frame, the first three Abbey batters reached base. Peek, the fourth batter of the inning, lifted a fly ball to center that was deep enough to score Sherrill, who led off the inning with a double. Two force outs ended the inning as the Falcons avoided further damage.
That was all of the scoring until the fifth as both pitchers held the offenses at bay. In the top of the fifth, Pfeiffer pushed the winning run across.
Conklin reached on a fielder's choice groundout that cancelled Sadie Saine at second. She moved to second on a groundout by Workman and scored on Dew's double to left.
The Abbey had a chance to tie the game in the sixth. Amber Faust led off the inning getting hit by a pitch and moving to second on a wild pitch, but three straight flyouts ended the inning.
Pfeiffer threatened in the top of the seventh as it stringed together two singles, but two fielder's choice groundouts and a grounder to first ended the inning. The Abbey went down in order in the seventh as Pfeiffer gained the sweep.
Conklin earned the win in relief of Russell, as she allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings, striking out two, both in the ninth. Emily Self was charged with the loss after giving up two runs on eight hits in seven innings, striking out one.
Conklin and Dew both had two hits as the Falcons registered eight. Sherrill, Faust and Shanie McConnell had all of the hits for the Crusaders, which finished with eight. Sherrill had two hits.