Tyler Waddell – Sports Information Graduate Assistant
DUE WEST, S.C. – With 22 combined hits and outstanding pitching performances, Pfeiffer University's softball team swept a doubleheader against Erskine College on Tuesday afternoon at the Erskine Softball Complex.
No. 2 nationally-ranked Pfeiffer (38-4, 16-2 CC) has now won 11 of its last 12 as it enters the final stages of the regular season with the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament in sight. The Flying Fleet (14-24, 8-8) have now dropped four in a row and fall to 7-11 at home in 2017.
Pfeiffer 5, Erskine 3
Pfeiffer went out in front with a 1-0 lead in the first inning after an RBI single from freshman Makenzie Pennell. After four quiet innings that featured just nine hits between both teams, the Falcons went back to work adding two runs in the top of the sixth. Junior Chandler Walker singled to right center to drive in senior Rachel Crowder; junior Abi Peck then knocked in sophomore Kiana Millsaps the following at bat to increase the lead to 3-0.
Millsaps and Walker each recorded another RBI in the top of the seventh to give Pfeiffer extra breathing room entering the final half inning, as the Falcons took a five-run lead with three outs remaining. But Erskine did not give up without one last gasp.
Millsaps, who went the previous six innings without allowing a run to cross the plate, surrendered back-to-back singles to start the inning before getting an out via fielder's choice and forcing Lydia Trexler to fly out to right field. But with two outs and two on, Sydney Smith hit a three-run home run to left, bringing EC within two with one out left. Millsaps then composed herself and got Sydney Grimes to ground out to second base to finish the game.
Pennell and Millsaps each finished with two hits and an RBI apiece. Junior Emma Tuttle went 2-for-3 and Walker added a hit and two RBI. Millsaps improved to 7-1 in the circle, scattering 11 hits with those three earned runs while striking out five.
Pfeiffer 4, Erskine 1
The Falcons got off to another hot start in the top of the first inning of game two, grabbing three runs off three hits and a walk. After going 2-for-4 in game one, Millsaps continued her strong performance at the plate with an RBI single in the first; Walker knocked one to right to bring home Crowder and then ended up scoring on the next play to make it 3-0.
That proved to be all the runs Pfeiffer would need to win.
Erskine erased its three-run deficit in the bottom of the second off a SAC fly from Baylee Browning off starter Kennedy Lester, but senior Sydney Poole (12-0) was dominant in relief, finishing off the game with six innings and no runs off six hits and a walk.
Pennell's batting average rose to .419 after adding two more hits, and her two RBI in game two gives her 52 in what has been a remarkable freshman campaign. Tuttle repeated with another 2-for-3 performance and both Millsaps and Walker ended the second contest 2-for-3 with a run batted in.
Pfeiffer will return to Misenheimer for a doubleheader against Belmont Abbey tomorrow, April 19 at 4 and 6 p.m.