VALDOSTA, GA. (vstateblazers.com) — The No. 3 Valdosta State softball comeback bid fell just short in eight innings, 4-3 versus visiting No. 6 Auburn Montgomery Saturday afternoon on Senior Day.
The Blazers fell to 28-7 on the year and 20-3 in the Gulf South Conference, while the Warhawks improved to 32-7 on the year and 20-4 in the GSC.
After junior pitcher Samantha Richards (21-4) went three-up-three-down in the top of the first inning, the Warhawks broke through and scored first in the top of the second inning as Blazer miscues allowed a base runner to cross home and a solo home run gave AUM the lead, 2-0.
The Blazers responded in the bottom of the frame as senior Nikki Pennington hit a solo home run into left field, cutting AUM's lead to 2-1. Pennington recorded her 39th career home run and ninth of the season. She ended the afternoon with one run scored, three hits, and one RBI.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Blazers tied the game at 2-2, as sophomore Morgan Hill recorded her seventh home run of the season. AUM and the Blazers were unable to record a run through the next two frames, forcing extra innings for the second time this season and second time in the series.
The Warhawks posted two runs in the top of the eighth inning as Chloe Derrick hit a solo home run over the center field wall and Margaret Morgan singled up the middle allowing a run to score to give AUM a 4-2 lead.
The Blazers' comeback bid began in the bottom of the frame as graduate Ally Clegg smoked a single up the middle and Pennington followed with a single into right field, allowing Clegg to advance to third. Sophomore Katie Proctor reached first on a fielder's choice, allowing Clegg to score, but junior Taylor Lewis' ground out to second ended the frame as the Warhawks won the finale, 4-3.
Richards went the distance for the Blazers, recorded eight strikeouts and gave up seven hits, four runs and three earned runs. AUM's Alanna Goble (8-1) recorded the win and fanned two Blazers. She allowed seven hits, three runs and one walk.
The Blazers are back in action for the final GSC series on April 23-24, taking on No. 22 West Florida in Pensacola, Fla. After the meeting with the Argos, the Blazers will host Columbus State on April 27 for the final regular-season home doubleheader and will round out the 2022 season at Young Harris on April 30.
The Gulf South Conference tournament begins on May 5 in Oxford, Ala., with VSU already clinching a berth in the tournament.
For all updates on Blazer softball, visit vstateblazers.com or follow Valdosta State Athletics on social media.