DUNCAN, S.C. – The Converse College softball team earned a split with visiting Brenau University on Friday afternoon at Tyger River Park. Brenau took game one by the final of 5-0 before an offensive outburst by the Purple and Gold in game two gave Converse a 7-5 win.
GAME ONE: Brenau 5, Converse 0
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Brenau broke through in the top of the second. Back-to-back hits to start the inning put runners on second and third with no outs. However, starting pitcher Marissa Martin struck out the next two batters, but a two-out, two-RBI single gave the Golden Tigers a 2-0 lead.
That lead ballooned to 4-0 with single runs in the third and fourth innings. The Valkyries looked poised to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the sixth after putting a runner on second with one out. Moriah Gomez led the frame off with a beautifully-placed bunt single and was sacrificed over by Hailey Spitler. However, the next two batters were retired in order and the score remained 4-0 heading to the final inning.
Brenau added a run on two hits in the top of the seventh and the Valkyries went down in order to end game one with a final of 5-0.
GAME TWO: Brenau 5, Converse 7
Converse struck first in the second game of the day, plating a single run in the top of the first. Martin drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a single to center by Brooklyn McElrath. After an out, two consecutive walks allowed McElrath to come around and touch the plate, giving the Vals the lead 1-0.
Destiny Heard led the second off with a walk. After Savannah Rodgers entered from the flex position to run, she was advanced to second on a groundout by Gomez. Spitler followed with a single through the right side and took second on the throw, placing runners on second and third with one out. Back-to-back fielder's choices followed by two straight errors on the Golden Tigers' shortstop allowed Converse to pad its lead to 4-0 after two.
Two more runs in the home half of the third pushed the Valkyries lead out to 6-0. After a flyout to start the frame, Heard laced a single before advancing all the way to third following a walk by Gomez and base hit down the left field line by Spitler. With two outs, McElrath came up with a clutch hit, scoring two runs for the Purple and Gold.
Brenau narrowed the gap to 6-2 with a pair of scores in the top of the fourth, the big blow coming off the bat of Claire Fendig, who connected on a triple to right field. Courtney Walls added an RBI fielder's choice in the bottom of the inning, giving Converse a 7-2 lead.
The Golden Tigers made things interesting in the next two innings, scoring three times, while also putting the tying runs on second and third with two outs in the top of the seventh. However, Rodgers got Tabitha Morrison to strike out swinging to secure the Valkyries first victory of the season.
Converse will return to the dirt tomorrow afternoon, traveling to face the Eagles of Carson-Newman University. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m.