OXFORD, Ala. — Behind home runs from sophomore Katie Proctor and graduate student Ally Clegg, the No. 10-ranked Valdosta State softball team responded with a 7-4 victory over West Florida in an elimination game Thursday morning at Choccolocco Park.
VSU (34-10), who is the No. 2-seed in the tournament, advanced to a Friday morning matchup with the loser of either top-seeded Auburn Montgomery or No. 4-seed UAH at 11 a.m. ET.
For the game, VSU finished with seven runs on five hits and one error, while UWF had four runs – three in the last two innings, six hits and no errors. Clegg finished 2 for 2 with three runs scored, a stolen base, one RBI, a home run and one walk.
Proctor went 2 for 3 with a run scored and four RBI, including a home run. VSU junior hurler Samantha Richards went the distance, improving to 25-7 on the year, allowing six hits, four runs – three earned, walked none and fanned six. She moved into second all-time in career strikeouts with 579, surpassing Cailtyn Calhoun (2013-16 / 574) in school history, while her 579 K's are good for seventh all-time in league history.
UWF (30-15), leadoff hitter Teala Howard went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and a triple, while Madelyn Vasquez went 2 for 3, while Madilynne Webb was 1 for 3 with a run scored and two RBI including a home run. Hurler Kelsey Sweatt fell to 13-10 in six innings, allowing five hits, seven earned runs, walked five and fanned nine.
A leadoff single Howard and a throwing error led to a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead for the Argos in the top of the first inning.
In the bottom of the frame, two out walks to graduate student Ally Clegg and sophomore Aniston Gano kept the inning alive for the Blazers as Proctor belted a three-run shot to left for a 3-1 lead. It was Proctor's seventh blast of the season.
Clegg got in on the home run in the bottom of the third as she blasted her team-leading 14th home run of the season for a 4-1 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, sophomore Morgan Hill drew a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt moved her to second and Clegg singled to third for runners at the corners.
Clegg stole second as Hill scored for a 5-1 lead. Gano drew a free pass and Proctor came up with a bunt single, plating Clegg for a 6-1 lead. VSU added another run on a wild pitch for a 7-1 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Howard tripled to right center with one away and then scored on a wild pitch for a 7-2 score.
UWF added two runs in the top of the seventh as the Argos began the frame with a leadoff single, followed by Webb's two-run home run to center for a 7-4 deficit.
Laurynn Boggs doubled down the left field line, but Richards got a line out to third to end the game.