VALDOSTA, Ga. (vstateblazers.com) — Junior pitcher Samantha Richards recorded 13 strikeouts on the afternoon, allowing her to reach 500 career strikeouts as the No. 4 Valdosta State softball team completed the series sweep over West Georgia, taking the final game 12-1 on Sunday.
Richards (21-2) pitched all five innings for the Blazers and held UWG to three hits, one run, and no walks through 18 at-bats. Her 500 career strikeouts are good for 11th in Gulf South Conference history and third in program history behind Karie Newton's 580 strikeouts and Caitlyn Calhoun's 574 strikeouts. Her 53 career wins are the ninth-most in program history, surpassing Margaret Carter's 51 career wins this weekend.
The Blazers improved to 27-5 on the year and 19-1 in the GSC while the Wolves fell to 11-24 in the year and 4-16 in GSC play and VSU improved its all-time record with the Wolves to 108-14.
UWG held the Blazer offense to two scoreless innings and put a score on the board in the bottom of the second inning from a solo shot into left field, but VSU's offense began to come alive in the top of the third inning.
After sophomore Taylor Macera reached first on an error and junior Hunter Meadows singled to second base, Macera was able to steal home off UWG's miscues. Later in the frame, graduate Ally Clegg hit a two run home run over the left field wall to give the Blazers the lead, 3-1. Clegg recorded her team-high 10th home run of the year.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Blazers posted eight runs. Sophomore Katie Proctor hit an RBI single to left field scoring senior Nikki Pennington, and Macera followed the play up with an RBI single to bring the score to 5-1. Sophomore Morgan Hill hit an RBI single to put another run on the board then Pennington followed the play up with a three run RBI double down the left field line to push the lead to 10-1. VSU ended the frame with another run courtesy of Proctor's RBI single to end the frame at 11-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Blazers posted the final run of the game from Hill's groundout to first base, allowing Meadows to score. The Wolves were unable to come up with a run in the bottom of the frame, ending the game 12-1 in favor of the Blazers.
UWG's pitching staff combined for one strikeout, 11 hits, eight earned runs and no walks through 26 Blazer batters.
The Blazers are back in action on April 15-16, hosting No. 9 Auburn Montgomery for the final GSC home series of the year and senior day on April 16. Following the home series, the Blazers will travel to West Florida to take on the Argos on April 23-24 for the final conference series of the year.