Softball Splits Doubleheader With Pfeiffer In Home And Conference Opener

Softball Splits Doubleheader With Pfeiffer In Home And Conference Opener

Madison Johnston tossed a one-hitter and Madison Stewart singled home the lone run of the game as University of Mount Olive defeated Pfeiffer University 1-0 in game one of a Conference Carolinas softball doubleheader Thursday at Nancy Chapman Cassell Field. The doubleheader was the Trojans' home opener and the conference opener for both teams.

The Trojans had to settle for a split after four unearned runs in the top of the sixth broke a 2-2 tie as Pfeiffer took the second game 6-2.

Johnston (4-4) overcame a leadoff walk and a runner on third with one out in the top of the first inning in the opener. She finished with a strikeout and a comebacker to leave the Falcon runner stranded. A two-out bloop single to right was the only hit Johnston allowed. She finished with six strikeouts.

Pfeiffer's only other baserunner reached on an error in the third and was called out for leaving base early on a steal attempt. Johnston retired the final 13 batters she faced.

Mount Olive (6-10 overall, 1-1 Conference Carolinas) broke the deadlock in the bottom of the fourth when Charlene Thompson drew a leadoff walk and stole second. On the next pitch, Pfeiffer catcher Rachel Crowder threw down to second and appeared to have Thompson caught between second and third, but Thompson beat the throw to third.

Pfeiffer pitcher Kennedy Lester retired the next two batters on groundouts before Stewart sent a high bouncer that went off the top of Lester's glove to bring home Thompson. Stewart added an infield single in the sixth to give her two of the Trojans' three hits.

In game two, Pfeiffer (13-9) surpassed its game one hit total in the top of the first inning as Kiana Millsaps doubled in a run and Jaclyn Boever added an rbi-single to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead. Mount Olive loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, but Falcon starter Sam Jarmusch got out of trouble with a groundout to first.

The Trojans capitalized on two Pfeiffer errors on the same play to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Jazmin Montgomery singled down the right field line with one out and pinch-runner Reagan Anderson went to second on a wild pitch. After Callie Ferrell walked, Callie Kuykendall took over for Jarmusch.

A groundout advanced the runners to second and third, and Kuykendall appeared to get out of trouble on a ground ball to short. But the underhand toss to second was high, allowing Anderson to score. Power went to third and scampered home to tie the game 2-2 when the throw from the outfield missed the cutoff.

Pfeiffer threatened to regain the lead in the top of the fifth when Chandler Walker led off with a single. After Caitlin Ewers (0-5) took over for Trojan starter Julie Hodges, pinch-hitter Vanessa Hoffman reached on a bunt single. Ewers followed with a strikeout, but a Trojan error allowed the Falcons to load the bases.

Ewers ended the threat with a 1-2-3 double play as she fielded a hot bouncer and threw Walker out at the plate. Catcher Brook Kamphuis threw to Anna Ingram at first to complete the double play and end the inning.

The Trojans' celebration was short lived as Pfeiffer broke the game open in the sixth. Boever singled with one out and a Trojan infield error put runners on second and third. Johnston replaced Ewers, but Anna Lauren Brafford, who had Pfeiffer's only hit off of Johnston in game one, lined the first pitch to center to put the Falcons ahead to stay 3-2. Johnston threw a runner out at the plate, Emma Tuttle followed with an rbi-single and Vada Blue Sherrill capped the inning with a two-run single.

Kuykendall (3-0) retired the side in order in the sixth and withstood a two-out walk in the seventh for the win.

Mount Olive heads to Clermont, Fla., to play eight games in five days during Spring Break. The Trojans will play a geographic cross section of teams from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mount Olive's next home doubleheader is March 16 against Saint Augustine's.