Cockrell Strikes Out 20 In Opening-Day Sweep

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AIKEN, S.C. - The University of South Carolina Aiken softball team swept Columbia College by scores of 9-0 and 4-3 Saturday afternoon to open the 2020 season.

The Pacers are now 2-0 on the year.

Caroline Cockrell threw a one-hit shutout in the opener with 12 strikeouts. She only walked one in the victory.

Brooke Moore smashed a pair of homers while Katelyn Powell and Jessica Smith each launched solo round-trippers. Smith's blast came in her first career at bat.

Smith got things going with a homer in the second stanza. In the third, Powell and Moore launched back-to-back round-trippers for a 3-0 edge. USC Aiken made it 5-0 when Moore smacked a two-run homer in the fifth, plating Powell.

In the sixth, Katie Painter singled in Deja Robinson, who came in as a pinch runner for Smith. Robinson swiped second after Smith walked prior to trotting in on the hit by Painter. After a steal by Painter Holly Daum singled her in. Powell's two-run double ended the game at 9-0 as Daum and Courtney Strauss each crossed home.

At the plate, Powell went four-for-four with three RBI and scored twice. Moore, Painter and Strauss had two hits apiece. Moore knocked in three runs and scored twice.

Columbia College took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of game two, but Cockrell came in as a reliver and struck out a batter to end the threat.

Head coach Jerry Snyder's team tied the game in the bottom of the frame. Smith singled in Moore. Samantha Ayers singled in Smith and Shircoria Bosket knocked in Ayers on a single to left. The Pacers scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the second when Powell doubled home Daum, who had reached on a walk to start the frame.

The fourth run was all that Cockrell would need the rest of the way. Cockrell allowed just one hit the rest of the contest and one other runner got on via an error in the one-run victory.

At the plate, Painter and Smith had two hits apiece. Cockrell worked 6.1 innings of relief, giving up one hit and a walk while striking out eight.

The Pacers return to action Thursday when they host Claflin in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.