OXFORD, Ala. (VALDOSTA STATE ATHLETICS) — Missed opportunities doomed the No. 8 Valdosta State softball team as it fell 2-1 to Mississippi College in the second game for both teams in the 2021 Gulf South Conference Championship Friday evening.
VSU (33-7) now will face No. 8-seed Montevallo in an elimination game Friday at 11 a.m. ET on the Choccolocco Signature Softball Field. MC (20-19) won its second game by one run in the conference tournament as it upset No. 14 Alabama Huntsville in the first game of the day for the Choctaws, 4-3.
Fans can click on the links to the right of this story for live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more for the game Friday morning.
The Blazers left 12 stranded on base for the second-most in a game this season and had the bases loaded in the fifth and seventh innings, but only came away with one run. The Choctaws stymied the Blazer offense, holding VSU to four hits, tying the season-low.
MC scored its two runs on a home run from Morgan Bradford with two out following a Blazer miscue in the bottom of the fourth inning for a 2-0 score. She finished the game 1 for 3 with the home run, one run scored and two RBI.
The dinger from Bradford was the only blemish for VSU sophomore hurler Samantha Richards in an otherwise standout day. Richards fanned 19 in the two games Thursday, walking none and allowing three runs and just one earned. She went 1-1 in 13 innings of work. Richards had eight strikeouts in the game against MC, allowing five hits and two unearned runs.
MC started Avery Barnett was strong in 4.2 innings of work, allowing three hits, walked two and fanned four, while Avery Sanders earned the save in 2.1 innings of work. She allowed one hit, one earned run, walked six and fanned four.
The Blazers began to get some momentum late in the game and, in their last at bat, were able to finally scratch a run across as junior Nicole Pennington drew a one out walk, followed by a walk to senior Logan Hill. Freshman Aniston Gano came up with a RBI single to left to get the Blazers on the board. Freshman Taylor drew the third walk of the inning by Sanders, but senior Lacey Crandall lined out to first to end the game with the bags full.