AIKEN — Newberry put on a dazzling display of pitching and defense in a doubleheader sweep against USC Aiken on Thursday, taking the first game 3-1 before sealing the sweep in Game Two with a 2-1 win.
Alyssa Ball factored heavily into both decisions, earning a save in the first game and twirling a complete-game gem in the second. The freshman located 54 of her 71 pitches for strikes and gave up a run on just four hits during her time in the circle. Ball was backed up by defense, particularly in the seventh inning to snuff out a potential Pacers’ rally before it started.
Center fielder Ashley Willis dove to snare a sinking line drive for the first out three pitches before third baseman Allison Van Atta, playing a few steps in front of the bag, made a lunging stab to her right and threw across the diamond for the second out of the inning. Ball needed just three pitches to retire Lyndie Dorgan on strikes to secure the win.
Ball got just enough run support from the Newberry offense to earn the win. The Wolves fell behind in the first inning but struck back for a 1-1 tie with a run in the third.
Two singles on a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with one out for Morgan Wagaman, who rolled a ground ball to the third baseman. A throw to the plate nailed the runner for the second out of the inning, but Wagaman alertly for second and drew a throw to the bag. Paige Meyer alertly rounded third and headed to the plate where she slid safely under the tag.
The Wolves moved ahead in the fifth inning when pinch hitter McKenzie Barneycastle led off the inning with a walk. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and swiped third to set the table for Daphne Peyton, whose sacrifice fly to right field put the Wolves into the lead for good.
Newberry leapt in front of USC Aiken in Game One, beginning in the second inning when Ashley Willis scored on a Haley Wildes ground out. Sydney Patterson would lead off for the Wolves in the fifth and single on a bunt. She worked herself to third base and crossed the plate on a sacrifice bunt by Wagaman that extended the lead to 2-0. Meyer scored on a single by Natalie Wills to give Newberry an important insurance run.
USC Aiken fired back in the bottom of the seventh as two Pacers would get on base with only one out. Kathleen St. Peter’s RBI single with one out in the inning was USC Aiken’s third consecutive hit, chasing starter Emily Marchbanks from the game.
Ball entered in a save situation with two on and one out. With the winning run at the plate, Meyer flashed her leather with a diving grab of a line drive for the second out. A flyout to center field three pitches later gave Newberry the win.
Marchbanks earned her second win of the season by going 6.1 innings and allowing a run on four hits. She struck out four Pacers and did not allow a walk. She outdueled Dorgan, who allowed nine hits in a complete-game effort to fall to 1-3 on the season.
Natalie Willis tallied three hits in the contest for the Wolves with Meyer and Ashley Willis totaling two apiece. Meyer and Ashley Willis were two of the five freshmen to make an appearance in the starting lineup of Game Two.