MISENHEIMER — Now ranked 12th in the latest NFCA Division III Top 25 poll, the Pfeiffer softball team won its first two USA South conference games over visiting N.C. Wesleyan in a doubleheader March 25 at Jack Ingram Field.
With the 3-0 and 5-0 victories over the Bishops (13-8, 0-2), the Falcons (14-8, 2-0) have won four games in a row and five of their last six.
Following a back-and-forth start to the season, eighth-year coach Monte Sherrill’s Falcons are beginning to emulate last year’s 35-10 campaign when the team took home the USA South East Division regular season title.
Pfeiffer, which has eight consecutive winning seasons, is entering the meat of its conference schedule.
In the first game of the doubleheader against NCWU, sophomore catcher Emma Chopko gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with an RBI single. Pfeiffer then went up 2-0 later in the inning following a throwing error from the Bishops.
Sophomore outfielder Gracie Griffin increased the Falcons’ lead to 3-0 with an RBI single that scored senior shortstop Kyndell Warren in the fifth inning.
Sophomore pitcher Kenzi Lyall recorded a complete game shutout win, improving her record to 8-6 overall. Through a team-high 68 2/3 innings pitched, Lyall has a 2.34 ERA and 60-31 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
In game two of the doubleheader, junior pitcher Kali Morton (6-2) had one of her best performances for the Falcons, notching a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts and only a pair of NCWU hits allowed. The Mooresville native holds a team-best 2.07 ERA through 44 innings and has held batters to a .242 average at the plate.
Lyall and Warren each knocked in RBI singles early in the game, while Chopko connected on her second home run of the season to put the Falcons up 4-0 in the sixth inning; Warren made it a 5-0 game later in the inning with an RBI double.
The Falcons hit the road on March 28 for their first USA South trip of the season as they traveled to Raleigh for a doubleheader with William Peace. Pfeiffer’s road trip will continue with a visit to Southern Virginia on March 31 and Mary Baldwin on April 1 before returning home to face Salem on April 8.
The Falcons sit atop the early USA South standings as the only team out of 10 with two conference wins — only Greensboro (16-4, 0-0) has more overall wins at this point of the season. Pfeiffer and Greensboro are set to square off on April 22 with a crucial pair of games that could determine the final seeding for the USA South Tournament set for May 4-6.