MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – After dropping their season opening double header to Catawba College by a combined score of 15-4, the Georgia Southwestern softball team was looking for an answer in Sunday's doubleheader against Queens (N.C.). The answer was an exciting one as the Lady Hurricanes took both games in dramatic fashion 3-2, 6-5.
GAME ONE: Queens-2 Georgia Southwestern-3
After Lady Hurricane pitchers surrendered fifteen runs over two games the day before, senior pitcher Casey Burns would lock it up for GSW on the mound. Burns, the Hopehull, Alabama native, would throw seven innings, surrendering four hits and giving up two unearned runs with five strikeouts.
Unfortunately for her, Georgia Southwestern hitters provided little run support for Burns through the first six innings. Gabby Buck's RBI single in the third inning would be the only run for the Blue & Gold until the seventh and decisive inning.
The Lady 'Canes entered the bottom of the seventh inning down 2-1. Ashley Cavender would open the inning by reaching first base on a fielding error. Hayley Knight would follow Cavender with a bunt single to give GSW two base runners with no outs.
Just as she did in the third inning, third baseman Gabby Buck would deliver the goods while GSW's chips were down. The senior would single to left center driving in Cavender and then Knight on an error would also score to give the 'Canes the victory in walk-off fashion. Buck would finish the game going 3-4 with 2 RBIs and a 2B.
GAME TWO: Queens-5 Georgia Southwestern-6
GSW's response to their walk-off win in game one appeared to be a muted one in the early going. Designated player Whitney Britt would drive in a run in each of her first two at-bats for Queens to help build a 4-0 lead after five innings. It wasn't until the sixth inning that the GSW bats would come to life. A pair of RBI doubles from Avery Purser and Jessica Chewing would get the Lady 'Canes on the board and cut the Queens lead in half at 4-2.
Sophomore Erin Vick would prove to be a stabilizing force on the mound as she would only surrender one unearned run in her outing over the last two and a third innings of the game. Yet, her only run allowed could come in the sixth inning to give Queens a commanding 5-2 lead going into the seventh and final inning.
The GSW half of the seventh inning would prove to be an eventful half as Hurricane hitters caught fire. The first three batters would all single, which lead to a slew of RBIs by Brittny Dennison (sacrifice fly), Avery Purser (single), Janna Anderson (single) and Jessica Chewing (fielder's choice). By the middle of the seventh Georgia Southwestern had come back to take the 6-5 lead.
Vick would strike out her first batter, but followed it up by giving up a walk and a single. She would recover to close the door on Queens and give GSW its second come from behind rally of the day.
Coach Ward and company would account for sixteen team hits with three players (Buck, McElroy and Purser) all going 3-4 on the day.
GSW Softball will have a mid-week road doubleheader as their next challenge. The ladies will play two on Wednesday, February 8 at Albany State University with action schedule to begin at 1 p.m.