VALDOSTA, Ga. (vstateblazers.com) — The No. 2 Valdosta State softball team clinched its first Gulf South Conference sweep of the season over No. 25 Alabama Huntsville this weekend. The Blazers picked up a 4-3 win over the Chargers on Sunday after defeating UAH twice on Saturday in the doubleheader.
The Blazers improved to 9-2 on the year and 3-0 in the GSC, while the Chargers fell to 8-4 on the year and 0-3 in GSC action.
The Blazers scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning from sophomore Aniston Gano's three-run blast, scoring Abby Sulte and Ally Clegg. Gano hit her first home run of the season and picked up four RBI during the game.
VSU tacked another one in the bottom of the third inning. Sophomore Morgan Hill singled to left field and stole second, and Gano singled up the middle plating Hill for the 4-0 lead.
Alabama Huntsville attempted the comeback in the fourth inning, putting up two runs off a homer by Lila Young, and another run in the top of the fifth inning from two hits off junior pitcher Samantha Richards.
The Blazers' defense staved off the Chargers in the top of the seventh inning, completing the comeback 4-3 in favor of the red and black. The VSU defense stood tall in the final frame as UAH had a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt moved the potential tying run to second. Jada Henderson tried to steal third, but junior catcher Taylor Lewis had a valiant throw to third and freshman shortstop Avery Martin made a great tag to get the second out of the inning. The next batter for UAH singled as the caught stealing proved to be huge in the game on the previous play. Richards got a foul out to third to end the game.
Richards pitched the entire game for the Blazers, and picked up five strikeouts, one walk, six hits and gave up three runs. Her record on the year improved to 5-1, while Layton Murphy, who pitched the entire game for the Chargers, fell to 2-3 on the year and gave up four runs to the Blazers.
The Blazers are back in action beginning a seven-game road stand beginning on Feb. 23, for a pair of non-conference games against Georgia Southwestern in Americus, Ga. VSU then travels to Lee for a GSC series next weekend and then at Flagler for a doubleheader on Mar. 2, before returning home to host Montevallo for a three-game set, Mar. 5-6, at Steel's Diamond at Blazer Park.