The Georgia Southwestern softball team split a Friday evening doubleheader with Armstrong Atlantic at Lady 'Canes Field. GSW lost the first game, 9-5, before bouncing back to win the nightcap, 2-1.
Solo home runs from Lyndi Duff and Megan Wilkinson in the fourth inning of Game 2 proved to be the difference in the Lady Hurricanes victory.
The win in Game 2 was Southwestern's first conference victory against AASU since becoming a member of the NCAA in 2006. The Lady ‘Canes had lost seven straight conference games to the Pirates in that span and were outscored 60-13. GSW defeated Armstrong Atlantic on February 2, 2008, in a non-conference matchup, 2-1.
GAME 1: ARMSTRONG ATLANTIC 9, GSW 5
AASU, ranked third in the Southeast Region by the NCAA selection committee, jumped on top of the Lady Hurricanes in Game 1, thanks to a solo home run from Megan Qualls in the second inning that put the Pirates ahead, 1-0. Nicole Huddleston then followed with a two-run shot in the top of the fourth inning to make the score, 3-0.
GSW answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double from Katie Wooten, but the Pirates would assume control of the contest with three runs in the top of the fifth on a double steal, an RBI single from Baillie Temples and an RBI double from Huddleston.
Ashley Harris knocked her first home run of the season – two-run blast – in the home half of the fifth inning to pull GSW within three runs, 6-3.
Heather Walker hit the third round-tripper of the game for the Pirates with a two-run shot in the top of the sixth inning to extend the margin to five. AASU added a run in the seventh.
Having already scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady ‘Canes had the bases loaded with two outs, but were unable to complete the comeback and AASU won by four.
Brooke McLemore had a pair of hits and a pair of runs scored in Game 1 to lead Southwestern at the plate.
Mariko Nomura (6-17) took the loss for the Hurricanes, giving up seven hits and six runs in five innings pitched, walking one and striking out three.
Shelby Duff (8-4) picked up the win for the Pirates, giving up five hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out six. Emily Headrick tossed 2 2/3 innings of two-hit, two-run ball to notch her first save of the season.
GAME 2: GSW 2, ARMSTRONG ATLANTIC 1
Game 2 remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Duff and Wilkinson connected on their solo home runs, separated by one batter, against AASU starter Megan Barnwell.
The score stayed 2-0 in favor of the Lady Hurricanes into the seventh inning. The Pirates scored a run on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 2-1 and had the tying run on second base, but GSW starter Jessica Martin (6-8) would retire the final batter to preserve the win.
Martin hurled seven innings of four-hit ball, giving up just one unearned run, walking two and striking out seven to notch the win for the Hurricanes. Martin has won her last three starts and allowed only one earned run in the last 20 innings of work.
Barnwell (11-5) took the loss for the Pirates, giving up three hits and two runs in six innings pitched, walking three and striking out eight.
Heather Hodge and Duff each notched a pair of hits in the doubleheader.
April Jowers and Shelby Duff each collected three hits in the doubleheader to lead the Pirates (26-13, 5-7 PBC), while Huddleston had a pair of hits and three RBIs in game one.
The Lady Hurricanes (18-29, 4-14) travel to Columbus State on Wednesday for a 5 p.m. doubleheader.