Pirates sink UNC-P

From UNC-Pembroke

SAVANNAH, Ga. - The home-standing Pirates of Armstrong Atlantic State swept a Peach Belt Conference two-game set with UNCP on Sunday, earning a pair of two-run victories over the Braves as AASU won game one 2-0 before taking game two 6-4 on a rain-soaked afternoon in Savannah.

With the two losses the Braves fall to 26-15 on the year while also dropping to 9-9 in conference play. The Pirates improve to 24-11 with a 3-5 mark in the PBC.

AASU scored runs in each of the first two innings in game number one to build a 2-0 lead on the Braves. Nicole Huddleston's RBI double plated Erin Billingsley with the game's first run in the bottom of the first, then an Amber Janus RBI groundout in the second plated Shelby Duff with an unearned run in the second.

That's all the offense that Megan Barnwell (10-4) needed for the Pirates as she limited UNCP to just four hits in a complete-game shutout effort, walking one and striking out seven.

Pembroke starter Alex Hartshorn (11-5) took the loss for the Braves, giving up five hits and two runs (one earned) in six innings, walking one and striking out three.

A 55-minute rain delay postponed the start of game two between the Pirates and the Braves, but once play began, AASU jumped out to a quick lead again.

With a runner on first, Shelby Duff's double to right field was misplayed by the outfielder Jamie Burwell, allowing a run to score in the bottom of the second inning. Alisa Malte then followed with an RBI single to right center, scoring Duff and putting the Pirates up, 2-0.

UNCP took the lead in the top of the third inning with three unearned runs as the Pirates committed four errors in the inning.

AASU retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth on Amber Janus' two-out, two-RBI single with the bases loaded, putting the Pirates back on top, 4-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, Malte delivered a bit of insurance with a two-run home run to left field, her first home run as a Pirate, making the score 6-4. Pembroke scored a two-out run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Morgan Patrick, but Shelby Duff retired Loren Bartz on a flyout to left to end the contest.

Duff (7-3) hurled the complete-game victory for the Pirates, giving up seven hits and four runs - one earned - in seven innings pitched, walking one and striking out one. Caroline Newman (10-9) took the loss for the Braves, giving up eight hits and six runs in six innings pitched, also walking one and striking out one.

Nicole Huddleston collected three hits on the day to lead the Pirates at the plate, while Malte started game two behind the plate and went 2-for-2 with three RBIs. Ashley Buckett and Shelby Duff also had two-hit days for AASU.

UNCP was led by two hits apiece from Patrick, Jelena Shaw and Randi Pruitt.

The Braves will host non-conference opponent St. Andrews on Thursday in a single game set to begin at 4 p.m. at LRA Softball Field. AASU returns to action on Wednesday with a PBC doubleheader at USC Aiken starting at 2 p.m.