AMERICUS, Ga. (VALDOSTA STATE ATHLETICS) — The No. 2 Valdosta State softball team split a doubleheader against the Hurricanes of Georgia Southwestern Wednesday afternoon in a mid-week non-conference showdown. The Blazers took game one 11-0 in six innings and dropped game two, 4-2, after a seventh-inning comeback bid fell short.
The Blazers moved to 10-3 on the year, 3-0 in the Gulf South Conference, while GSW moved to 8-4 on the season.
In game one, the Blazers wasted no time getting on the board, as sophomore Morgan Hill was walked, stole second, and advanced to third on graduate Ally Clegg's flyout to right field. Senior Nikki Pennington hit an RBI sac fly into left field to score Hill to give the Blazers a 1-0 advantage.
VSU's offense wasn't finished in the top of the first, as junior Abby Sulte singled up the center and sophomore Aniston Gano blasted her second home run of the year. Gano finished her evening, putting up two home runs, five RBI, and went 3 of 4 at the plate and scored two runs.
The red and black tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth inning as sophomore Taylor Macera hit her first home run of the year, scoring junior Taylor Lewis, who was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, Clegg hit a line drive to GSW's shortstop, allowing sophomore Katie Proctor to score to give VSU a comfortable lead, 6-0.
Sulte hit her third home run of the year in the top of the fifth to push the Blazers' lead to seven and in the sixth inning, the Blazers saw another flash of brilliance putting four more runs on the board from Clegg's sac fly into left field, scoring redshirt senior Baylee Everson, and Gano hitting her second homer of the game, scored three to complete the run-rule, 11-0.
Junior pitcher Samantha Richards (6-1), this week's GSC pitcher of the week, tossed a complete game for the Blazers and picked up five strikeouts. She scattered three hits in 21 batters faced. GSW's Trinity Whitfield (2-3), who took the loss and Zoe Willis combined pitching efforts for the Hurricanes, and had five strikeouts. The duo surrendered 11 runs, and 10 hits.
Game two saw a different start as GSW got on the board first in the bottom of the first frame from a solo home run by Willis. The Hurricanes extended their lead, 4-0, in the bottom of the third inning as sophomore Mia DeAngelis gave up a three-run shot, resulting in head coach Thomas Macera making the pitching change in favor of Hill. All four of GSW's runs came with two outs.
The Blazers began the comeback bid in the top of the seventh inning as Sulte singled to left field and Macera grounded out to third base, plating Sulte. Proctor then singled to center field, scoring Gano, who reached on a walk. GSW hurler Hannah Holloway got a fly out to center to end the game.
DeAngelis (3-2) and Hill combined efforts, picking up five strikeouts, and allowed six hits, four runs and three walks. Holloway (3-0) went the distance for GSW, and fanned four Blazer batters and gave up four hits, two runs and two walks.
The Blazers are back to conference action this weekend as they travel to Cleveland, Tenn., to take on Lee. The series is set to begin on Feb. 26 with a doubleheader scheduled for 1 p.m., followed by a single game on Feb. 27 at 1 p.m.
Check back with vstateblazers.com for links to streaming and live stats of the upcoming series.