Kelley, Hefner power Eagles past Pacers

Kelley, Hefner power Eagles past Pacers

AIKEN, S.C. – Brittany Hefner (Talbot, Tenn.) and Sara Kelley (Ooltewah, Tenn.) both homered twice as Carson-Newman (26-12) took a pair of one-run games from USC Aiken (20-16-1) Wednesday afternoon at J.H. Satcher Field.

The Eagles won game one 1-0 before taking game two 4-3 in 10 innings. 

"Going to Aiken is always tough," Carson-Newman head coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said.  "Especially with the pitchers that they have – they pitch so effectively.  They'll always be in games because of their pitching. These wins are huge with momentum going into the weekend against Anderson."

Game one: Carson-Newman 1, USC Aiken 0

Kaitie Sims (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.) fired a complete game shutout and Sara Kelley (Ooltewah, Tenn.) ripped a two-out solo shot over the wall in the fourth to give Carson-Newman the 1-0 win over USC Aiken.  Sims' complete game was her 12th of the year while the shutout was her third. 

The Eagles' starter improved to 15-2 for the year after scattering five hits, walking three and striking out two. 

Kelley's home run broke up a no hitter for Pacers' pitcher India Kornegay.  Kornegay took the loss (11-8) after striking out eight.   

Kelli Hensley (Knoxville, Tenn.) had Carson-Newman's only other hit a single in the fifth. 

The Pacers threatened mightily in the sixth.  A walk and a pair of infield singles loaded the bases for USC Aiken with no one out.  However, Sims induced a fielder's choice from Sarah Montei that ended with Brittany Hefner (Talbot, Tenn.) rifling home to get the lead runner Sarah Williams at the plate. 

The Eagles finished the frame defensively when Andrea Daring popped up to second and into a 4-3 double play.

Game two: Carson-Newman 4, USC Aiken 3 (10)

The Eagles started game two with a bang. After Bri Shoemake (Ooltewah, Tenn.) singled, Hefner cranked out her conference leading 16th home run of the season. The offensive fireworks continued with Kelley lacing her second homer of the series to left to give C-N a 3-0 lead. 

But USC Aiken would rally.

The Pacers would counter with a Cortney Sadler two-run shot in the fourth – her first of the year. 

Then in the seventh, Victoria Burkett led off the frame with a triple down the right field line before Montei collected an RBI with a single to right to tie the game 3-3 with no one out. 

However, Sims was able to get out of the inning without any further damage done, stranding runners on second and third as the teams exited to extra innings. 

Hefner gave Carson-Newman the lead in the 10th with one swing of the bat to crush a solo shot to center and give C-N a 4-3 lead.  The home run was Hefner's 17th and moved her into fourth place for most homeruns in a single season in conference history. 

The junior's three RBI moved her two away from the conference and school record of 72 set by Staci Fish in 2001.  Hefner's tied for second on the conference leaderboard with Catawba's Allie Marshall and her 70 RBI from 2010. 

Carson-Newman surrendered a school record 19 hits – the previous mark was 16 held by Kennesaw State (1997) and Lincoln Memorial (2013).  However, the Eagles' defense helped Carson-Newman's pitchers out of several jams. 

The Pacers left 18 stranded in game two. 

"We just got people out when we had to," Kazee-Hollifield said. "We misjudged a few balls and it was just that kind of afternoon, but we got them out when we had to."

That trend was evident in the home half of the 10th when USC Aiken started the inning off with back-to-back singles before a fielder's choice and two straight fly outs to end the game with the tying run on second. 

Sims picked up the win (16-2) in relief of Cassie Lyons (Knoxville, Tenn.).  Both pitchers pitched five complete innings. 

Taylor Morgan took the loss (9-8) after throwing 172 pitches over her 10 innings of work.  She struck out 13.

The Eagles stay on the road for a SAC matchup with Anderson. Carson-Newman is in third in the SAC standings while Anderson is a game back of the Eagles in a three-way tie for fourth.  Carson-Newman is a game back of first place.