FIRE ANTS

A split decision

USC Sumter softball wins opener over Union before losing nightcap

By DENNIS BRUNSON dennis@theitem.com
Posted 4/18/18

The University of South Carolina Sumter softball team didn't get the sweep it wanted against the University of South Carolina Union on Tuesday at Patriot Park SportPlex.

The Fire Ants won the opener 4-2 before losing the second game 11-1 in five …

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FIRE ANTS

A split decision

USC Sumter softball wins opener over Union before losing nightcap

Posted

The University of South Carolina Sumter softball team didn't get the sweep it wanted against the University of South Carolina Union on Tuesday at Patriot Park SportPlex.

The Fire Ants won the opener 4-2 before losing the second game 11-1 in five innings. That leaves them with a 17-13 overall record and a 7-5 mark inside NJCAA Region X.

That means the odds of USC Sumter winning the region title after winning just one game last season are slim. It would need a sweep of region leader Louisburg College this weekend in a pair of doubleheaders on the road as well as Spartanburg Methodist College losing a couple of games in its final four - two against USC Salkehatchie and two against USC Union.

Fire Ants head coach Adrienne Cataldo said that won't deter her squad against Louisburg.

"We want to go out there and play as hard and as confidently as we can," Cataldo said. "Our goal is to go out there and win each game and put as much pressure on Louisburg as possible."

Things got off to a good start for Sumter on Tuesday. Even though the Bantams took a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the second, Sumter answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. After Union tied it in the top of the fifth, Sumter scored two runs in the sixth for the win.

Emily Holmes had a 2-run double in the sixth. Holmes was 2-for-3 with three runs batted in.

The Fire Ants had seven hits in the first contest. Kristen McKenzie and Ashton Rogers both had a double and scored a run and Laurel Shaw had a hit and an RBI. Tamia Miller scored a run as well.

Meagan Phillips scattered seven hits to get the win in the circle. She struck out three and walked two.

"Meagan's really been pitching well for us," Cataldo said. "We're having to be careful with her because we want her to be at her best (for the region tournament, which will be in Sumter next weekend."

Sumter actually had one more hit in the second game - eight - but managed just the one run.

"We got runners on, but we didn't do well in situational hitting," Cataldo said. "We worked on that in practice yesterday. It doesn't matter how many runs you allow when you're not scoring runs yourself. We just couldn't come up with the situational hitting."

Brooke Ward and Holmes both had two hits, including a double. Jayla Cowell had two hits and drove in the only Fire Ant run in the bottom of the fifth. She scored Alexis Lyles, who had a hit.