USC Aiken takes pair from King

AIKEN, S.C. – A day after the King University softball team opened conference play with a split, the Tornado jumped back out of conference to take on USC Aiken. The Pacers got a stellar pitching performance en route to a 4-0 game one victory, and took the second game 7-6 on walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Tornado leadoff hitter Chrissy Melcher continued her hot streak as she started the day with a double to right center in game one. However, she was stranded there as Pacer pitcher India Kornegay started to settle in. She sat the Tornado down in order in the second before the USC Aiken offense got on the board in the second inning.

Ashley Metts drove in the first run with a double before the Pacers (12-3) plated another on an error to take a 2-0 advantage.

King (8-11) tried to start a rally in the third inning as Tori McComas reached an error to start the frame, and Stephanie Rodriguez followed with an infield single. However, Kornegay got three straight strikeouts to end the threat and keep King off the board.

USC Aiken plated two more runs in the fourth inning, and that was all Kornegay needed as the Pacers took game on 4-0. Kornegay struck out 13 and only allowed three hits in the complete game victory.

Melcher, Rodriguez and Hannah Smith all registered hits for King while Hannah Light tossed all six innings in the circle. Light struck out six and allowed four runs, three earned on eight hits.

The Tornado offense awoke in game two behind Melcher as she extended her hitting streak to 17 games. She singled through the left side, was sacrificed to second by Rodriguez and advanced to third on an error. Melcher later scored on a Fallon Thomas fielder's choice to give King the lead. Smith followed with a double, and Amber Walker ripped a run scoring single before Cheyenne Delffs came up with the big blow. With two outs, Delffs laced a two-run double to left center to give the Tornado a 5-0 lead.

However, USC Aiken answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame, capped by a Magan Thrower home run. Melcher was quick to answer as she led off the second inning with a home run, extending King's lead to 6-3.

The Pacers didn't go away however, as their offense came alive again in the third inning. The Pacers got a pair of RBI singles before Alyssa Cook ripped a run scoring double with two outs that evened the score at 6-6 after three innings.

The score remained the same until the bottom of the seventh inning when Metts reached on an error to spark a Pacer rally. An infield single put runners on the corners with one out. Light then induced a foul out, and looked to get out of the jam, but pinch hitter Makenzie Barbor rolled a single to shortstop that scored the game-winning run as USC Aiken took the game 7-6.

Melcher led the King offense, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Delffs drove in a pair of runs. Melcher extended her hitting streak to a career-best 17 games. Her previous best was 14 games during her freshman season.

King returns home on Wednesday when they host Wingate University at 1:30 p.m. The Tornado are also home on Thursday at 1:00 p.m., when they host Shorter University.