DENVER, CO. (VALDOSTA STATE ATHLETICS) — The No. 9 Valdosta State softball team dropped a 10-1 decision in six innings to top-ranked Augustana (S.D.) in the first game of the 2021 NCAA Division II Softball Championship. The Blazers now will face either No. 4-seed North Georgia or No. 5-seed Biola (Calif.) Friday at 6 p.m. ET in an elimination game.
Blazer freshman Morgan Hill, on a 1-2 count as the first batter of the game, took All-American Ashley Mickschl deep to right center for her 20th home run of the season and a 1-0 lead for the Blazers in front of a large contingent of Blazer fans. It was the eighth time this season M. Hill has begun a game with a home run this season.
In the bottom of the first, a pair of errors proved costly for the Blazers (38-10) on a pair of fielder's choice outs, plating one run and a two RBI single from Abby Lien gave the Vikings a 3-1 lead through one inning. Augustana (48-6) extended its lead to 4-1 in the third with two out on a RBI single to center field and then in the fourth, also with two out, Mary Pardo tripled off the wall and Kendall Cornick hit a two run home run down the right field line for a 6-1 score.
The third error on the Blazers and a Lien infield single put two on for the Vikings in the bottom of the fifth. The second error of the inning plated the seventh run of the game for the Vikings as Amanda Dickmeyer reached on the fourth miscue of the game. An infield single plated another run, but a great throw from senior Kiley Robb to senior Lacey Logan at home got the third out of the inning with VSU trailing 8-1.
A two run home run from Cornick, her second of the game, made the score 10-1 in the sixth to end the game, marking the first time VSU had been run-ruled this season and the largest margin of defeat (4-0 vs. West Florida last weekend).
Mickschl stymied the Blazer attack following the home run from M. Hill as she didn't allow a hit the rest of the game, marking the second time this season the Blazers had just one hit with the previous being in the 4-0 loss to West Florida last weekend in the NCAA South Regional.
The home run by M. Hill was her 20th of the season and the 106th of the year for VSU, breaking a tie for fourth all-time in NCAA Division II for home runs in a season (West Texas A&M, 2014). VSU sophomore hurler Samantha Richards (27-7) went five innings, allowing ten hits, ten runs – five earned, walked one and fanned two.
Mickschl (27-3) went all six innings, allowing the one hit, one run and fanned two. Cornick finished the game 2 for 4 with two runs scored, two home runs and four RBI, while Lien was 2 for 2 with two RBI and a walk.
Check vstateblazers.com later this afternoon for the opponent and links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more for Friday's game. Matt Malone will have the call of the game on 92.1 FM WDDQ in Valdosta and talk921.com.