Pacers softball drops first game in NCAA regional

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Friday May 8, 2009

HICKORY, N.C. – USC Aiken’s first ever contest in the NCAA Division II Tournament ended on Friday afternoon with the 15th-ranked Pacers falling 6-5 to Carson-Newman in extra innings of their first game of the double-elimination 2009 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional at Bears Field.

The two teams entered the second extra inning with the score knotted at 5-5. In the top of the ninth inning, Carson-Newman was able to score the eventual game-winning run on a Whitney Kee single to right field.

Kee’s single scored Stephanie Te, who had led off the frame with a double to right center.

USC Aiken would have a final at-bat in the bottom of the ninth, but Te, who was also the Eagles’ pitcher in the contest, was able to retire the Pacers in order in the bottom half of the inning.

The Pacers had entered their final regulation at-bat in the bottom of the seventh inning down 5-3. USC Aiken nevertheless did not fret with the Pacers posting two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Jessica Strickland (North Charleston, S.C./Fort Dorchester) kicked off the bottom of the seventh for the Pacers by singling to left centerfield. A Jennifer Day (Pelion, S.C./Pelion) single one batter later gave the Pacers runners at first and second with nobody out.

Helping her own cause, USC Aiken pitcher Toni Flessate (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford) then doubled to centerfield to score Strickland and place Day at third with the Pacers still behind one at 5-4.

Two batters later the Pacers had evened the score at 5-5 when Whitney Clary (Newberry, S.C./Newberry) grounded out to the Carson-Newman second baseman to bring in Day from third base.

Carson-Newman plated the first run of the game in the top of the first inning. USC Aiken would even the game in the bottom of the third on a home run by Strickland. The home run was the 12th of the year for Strickland.

The score would remain 1-1 until the top of the fifth inning when Carson-Newman brought in two runs to take a 3-1 lead. USC Aiken matched them in the bottom of the stanza with two runs of its own.