DUNCAN, S.C. – The Converse (6-30) softball team was swept by USC-Aiken (17-19) in non-conference action on Thursday afternoon at Tyger River Park. Both games were competitive and evenly-matched, but the Pacers came out on top by the finals of 4-2 and 3-2, respectively.
GAME ONE: CONVERSE 2, USC-AIKEN 4
After a scoreless first inning for both teams. Aiken broke through with two runs in the top of the second following RBI singles from Maci Hutto and Holly Daum. A sacrifice fly from Hanna Hyder in the top of the third extended the Pacer lead to 3-0.
Converse came back with a run of its own in the bottom of the third. McKayla Davis led the frame off with an infield single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Moriah Gomez. A fielder's choice groundout from Hailey Spitler allowed Courtney Walls, who ran for Davis, to touch the plate with the Vals first run.
The Valkyries were poised to cut into the Aiken lead in the bottom of the fifth after Brooklyn McElrath doubled to deep left to start the at-bat. However, three consecutive groundouts ended the threat and sent the game into the sixth with USCA leading 3-1.
USC-Aiken took advantage of the missed opportunity, posting a run in the top of the sixth, extending its lead to 4-1. Converse made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh. Gabrielle Cuevas led off with a double to left center and advanced to third on a passed ball before scoring on a Davis single to center.
With two outs and a runner on first, Gomez collected a hit to right, but the Walls was thrown out at third trying to advance on the play, ending the threat and the game.
GAME TWO: CONVERSE 2, USC-AIKEN 3
Converse struck first in game two, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third after an RBI double by Alison Plafcan, scoring Spitler all the way from first base. USC-Aiken came right back to tie the game in the top of the next inning on a sacrifice fly from Sydney Burk.
Offense was hard to come by over the next two-plus innings, but the Pacers took their first lead of game two in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of runs on as many hits.
The Valkyries attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Trailing by two runs, Meredith Quarles led the frame off with a walk and came around to score on an infield single by Gomez. However, a groundout ended the threat and gave the Pacers the 3-2 win.
Converse will return to the dirt on Tuesday, April 2, traveling to Tigerville, S.C. to face the Crusaders of North Greenville University. First pitch of that twin-billing is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Jan McDonald Field.