Written by Sean Dahlin
DOVER, Del.—Senior Malia Falevai (Mesa, Ariz.) went 5-for-6 with three RBI to lead the Southern Virginia University softball team on Saturday to a 4-1 and 12-4 doubleheader sweep at Wesley College.
"We came together as a team and played two of our best games of the season today," said third-year Head Coach Duste Grawrock. "McKenzy [Mackay] had another great day in the circle and Malia [Falevai] was an outstanding offensive weapon for us."
Southern Virginia (7-12) took the twin bill from Wesley (5-9) behind a season-high 26 hits in a two-game span and 16 runs scored, highlighted by two recorded wins, 13 strikeouts and zero earned runs on the day from senior pitcher McKenzy Mackay (Mesa, Ariz.).
After the Wolverines took a 1-0 lead in game one in the bottom of the first on a Steph Caracozza run, the Knights responded with their first runs of the contest as junior right fielder Marva Warndahl (Woodland, Wash.) hit in fellow-outfielder senior Laura Tome (Pasco, Wash.) and freshman left fielder Chance Hegsted (Rupert, Idaho) scored on a throwing error by Wesley's catcher.
While Mackay held the Wolverines scoreless through six consecutive innings, Southern Virginia added a pair of insurance runs in the fourth on a Cha. Hegsted RBI-single up the middle before Falevai touched home on another throwing error by the opposing catcher on route to the three-run victory.
In addition to Falevai's two base-knocks, including a triple in the second inning, Cha. Hegsted finished 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI, one run scored and a stolen base.
Mackay improved to 5-6 in her one-run, nine-strikeout performance while Wesley's starting pitcher Sarah Saunders (2-3) recorded the loss allowing four runs on nine hits in a complete-game loss.
In the second contest, the Wolverines moved ahead with a two-run advantage on an Ashly Bendorovich two-RBI double in the bottom of the first. The Knights answered back plating four runs in the top of the third inning, highlighted by a sacrifice fly from sophomore catcher Sarah Edwards (Phoenix, Ariz.) and two-RBI single from Falevai.
Wesley evened the score (4-4) with two runs of its own in the bottom of the third as Taylor Hendricks singled home teammates Bendorovich and Brooke Minemier.
Southern Virginia then went on an offensive tear outscoring the home team 8-0 in the final three innings of the competition with Mackay holding the Wolverines at-bay, tossing three innings of shutout-ball in relief for the Knights.
In the top of the fourth, Tome doubled down the leftfield line to bring home teammate Annie Biggs (Gilbert, Ariz.) while Edwards—who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs—registered a two-RBI single to score Cha. Hegsted and Tome.
Knights senior shortstop Dinah Rogers (Huntington Beach, Calif.) gave the team one more run hitting in Falevai on a single to left field in the fifth before Southern Virginia's four-run knockout blow in the top of the sixth inning with freshman Cheyenne Hegsted (Rupert, Idaho), Falevai and Rogers each recording an RBI and freshman Katie Evans (Grays Lake, Idaho) crossing home plate on an error by the left fielder.
All nine Southern Virginia starters each registered a hit, including a 3-for-3 showing at the plate from Falevai and two base-hits apiece for Edwards, junior third baseman Sara Harmon (Buena Vista, Va.), Cha. Hegsted, Che. Hegsted, Rogers and Tome.
Knights starter Biggs threw 3.0 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with one strikeout while Mackay—who currently ranks first in program history in career strikeouts (264), complete games (35), innings pitched (281.0) and games started (46)—moved to 6-6 with her second win of the day.
Hendricks (3-6) was given the loss after giving up 12 runs on 17 hits in 6.0 innings of work.
Softball will return home to The Fields to take on Mary Baldwin College in a twin bill on Thurs., Mar. 28.
Watch live video as the Knights host the Fighting Squirrels.