Bearcats finish season with sweep of Pacers

Lander finished its season in style with a sweep of PBC rival USC Aiken on Friday (file photo by Joshua S. Kelly)
Lander finished its season in style with a sweep of PBC rival USC Aiken on Friday (file photo by Joshua S. Kelly)

GREENWOOD — Lander finished its season in style on Friday, sweeping Peach Belt Conference rival USC Aiken in a doubleheader at Doug Spears Field. McKenzi Ferguson tossed a complete game three-hitter to lead the Bearcats to a 2-1 victory in round one, while also earning her first save of the season to secure a 7-4 win in the second matchup.

Lander got on the board first during the matinee game as Dariean Ward and Chandler Carey scored on a 2 RBI single by Reychel Webster in the bottom of the second, giving the Bearcats a 2-0 advantage.

USC Aiken threatened in the top of the seventh, with Hayley Elkins drawing a leadoff walk to start the rally. Ferguson (14-12) got the next two batters to pop-out, but then hit Julianne Leduc with a pitch to put runners on first and second.

Brielle Jungblut then laced a two-out single for the Pacers, scoring pinch-runner Lyndie Dorgan to cut the Bearcats' lead to 2-1. Ferguson came through in the clutch though, getting Sydney Kate Murphy to fly out to left field with two runners on, sealing the victory for the Bearcats.

Ferguson was dominant throughout, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out four in the win. 

Ward paced the Bearcats at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, while Webster, Carey, Makenzie Smith and Kelli McCormack also recorded hits in game one.

Chandler Terrapin (9-9) took the loss for USC Aiken, surrendering two runs on six hits through her six innings of work. 

The Bearcats struck first once again during the evening game, with Destiny Clyde tagging up on a sacrifice fly by Brianna Surrento to give Lander a 1-0 lead.

The Pacers took their first lead of either contest in the top of the fourth as Elkins smashed a two-run shot off Surrento (5-13), scoring Terrapin to go up 2-1. 

USC Aiken's advantage didn't last long though, as Lander responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to reclaim the lead. Carey came around to score on an RBI double by Halie Sorrow to tie the contest, while Webster belted an RBI single to plate pinch-runner Hannah Newton and give the Bearcats a 3-2 advantage. 

Lander expanded its lead to 7-2 in the next frame, with McCormack blasting a three-run homer off Terrapin (9-10) to score Carey and pinch-runner Casey Wooten. Logan Leverette then scored on a sacrifice by Sorrow to stretch the Bearcats' lead to five runs.

The Pacers plated two more runs in the top of the sixth to trim their deficit to three runs, but wouldn't come any closer. Hannah Price tagged up on a sacrifice fly by Elkins before Terrapin came home on a wild pitch to cut Lander's lead to 7-4.

Surrento earned the win for Lander with a solid performance, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk. Ferguson closed out the game for the Bearcats, earning her first save of the year with a hitless two-inning outing. 

Carey and Webster led the way at the plate with two hits each, while seven other Bearcats' batters recorded hits in Friday's second matchup.