Big Innings Doom CSU in Double Header Sweep by USC Aiken on Saturday
Columbus, Ga. -- Columbus State surrendered big innings to USC Aiken in both ends of a Peach Belt Conference double header on Saturday as the Pacers swept the twinbill by 6-4 and 7-4 scores. The Cougars fall to 16-21-1 overall and 2-8 in PBC play, while USC Aiken moves to 16-17, 8-8.
CSU held a 2-0 lead after in the opening game after plating single runs in the second and third innings. Keeley Kennedy drove in a run with a groundout in the second, and Brittany Leverett scored on a throwing error in the third to give the Cougars that two-run advantage.
The wheels came off in the top of the fourth, however, as the Pacers plated six runs. With one out and a runner aboard, second baseman Christie Thompson fumbled away a possible double play ball and put a runner in scoring position. Nikki Sidaway made the error costly right away as she stroked a double to left-center to score two runs. The second error of the frame followed as pitcher Kristi Bullard's throw to first on a sacrifice bunt attempt sailed down the right field line. Another run scored on that play to make it 3-2. The fourth run scored on Brandy Bossle's infield single, and then Lauren Locklear delivered the biggest blow of the inning, drilling a two-run homer to left field to make it 6-2. Only one of the six runs in the inning was earned.
CSU got back into the contest with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Back-to-back singles by Rocky Hemmer and Morgan Staffins plated the two runs to make it 6-4. The Cougars would have runners in scoring position in each of the final two innings but could not get them across.
Bullard (6-9) took the loss, despite allowing just one earned run. Kathleen Nichols picked up the win for USCA and Toni Flessate earned the save.
Staffins was 3-3 for CSU, while Thompson and Hemmer added two hits each. Locklear was the only Pacer with two hits.
In the nightcap, USCA broke up a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth with three runs - all coming with two outs. Locklear, Flessate, and Lindsey Jones each had run-scoring hits in the frame to make it 3-0.
CSU answered with two runs in the sixth to close the margin to one run. Kori Waugh got the big hit, a double past a diving Bossle in left field, to drive in two runs.
The Pacers then effectively put the game away with four runs in the seventh. Flessate homered with one out and then USCA got another gift as Thompson misplayed a line drive at second to keep the inning alive. A single followed to put two runners aboard and Blair Warrend then wrapped a Kelsey Gilliam pitch around the foul pole down the left field line for a three-run homer. Again, only on of the four runs were earned in the inning.
Carrie Jones ripped a two run homer in the seventh for CSU to pull the margin to 7-4, but CSU could not muster another run.
Britni McCall took the loss, allowing nine hits but just two earned runs in 6.1 innings. Gilliam pitched two-thirds of an inning and allowed four runs (one earned). Flessate earned the win as she scattered 10 hits and allowed four earned runs with five strikeouts.
Brittany Leverett, Jones, and Staffins each had two hits for CSU in the game, while four Pacer hitters collected two hits each.
CSU returns to action in PBC play on Wednesday, hosting Georgia College & State University at 5 p.m.