No. 6 Pirates Capture 1st Outright PBC Softball Title On Tuesday
FLORENCE, S.C. - The No. 6-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University softball squad won its first outright Peach Belt Conference regular season title by sweeping Francis Marion, 1-0 and 7-6, spoiling the opener of the new FMU Softball Complex on Tuesday afternoon in Florence, S.C.
The victories extend Armstrong's current win streak to 17 as the Pirates wrap up the regular season with a 43-8 overall record and a school-best 19-1 mark in the Peach Belt. Armstrong's previous PBC title came in 2000 when the Pirates tied with Kennesaw State for the regular season crown at 18-2. Francis Marion falls to 31-17 overal and 8-10 in the PBC.
The Pirates picked up the title-clinching game one win despite collecting only one hit against FMU pitcher Taylor Luff. The lone run of the game came in the third inning as Celia Blome was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. After a strikeout and an error, Shelby Duff singled to second base for the lone hit of the ballgame, loading the bases with one out. After the Patriots cut down a run at the plate, an error by shortstop Lindsey Brown allowed Ashley Schwab to score.
It was then up to Megan Barnwell, who fashioned a four-hit shutout, walking one while striking out seven to pick up the win. She got out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the sixth, then snared a line drive off the bat of pinch hitter Olivia Zielinski with a runner on in the seventh to preserve the win.
Taylor Luff took the game one loss, striking out 13 and giving up just the one unearned run, walking two.
Game two was an offensive showcase, comparatively, as Armstrong started off right out the gate with three runs in the top of the first inning. Baillie Temples collected an one-out RBI double, then Heather Walker squeezed home a run and Ashley Buckett drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
An illegal pitch by Caitilin Campbell scored FMU's first run in the third, but Brittany Cooley's RBI single in the top of the fifth made the score 4-1.
Francis Marion knocked Campbell out in the fifth, plating five runs - the capper coming on a two-RBI single by Krissy Longstreet - to put the Patriots on top, 6-4. Armstrong didn't lose the lead for long as another RBI double by Temples and an RBI single by Galloway tied the game at 6-all, then a fielding error by Tristan Faile allowed Galloway to score and put the Pirates up by one, 7-6.
Barnwell again was up to the task in game two as she walked only one the final two innings to notch the win in game two and improve to 20-3 on the season. Luff (9-6) took the game two loss in relief, giving up an unearned run and two hits in 1 2/3rds innings, walking one wihle striking out one.
Temples went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs scored to pace the Pirates offensively in game two. Longstreet had two hits and two RBIs in game two to lead the Patriots.
Armstrong will now go into the 2012 Peach Belt Conference Championships as the No. 1 seed. Play begins on Saturday, April 21st, in the eight-team, single-elimination bracket at the South Commons in Columbus, Ga.