March 7, 2012

Saved By Suicide Squeeze

AMERICUS, Georgia – After the excitement of Jessica Martin's no-hitter against LaGrange College on Sunday, it was hard to imagine things could be any more exciting for the Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes. A pair of one-run wins, including a walk-off suicide squeeze proved there was more excitement to be had. GSW downed Lynn University (1-23) by scores of 3-2 and 4-2 for the mid-week sweep.

GAME ONE: Georgia Southwestern-3  Lynn University-2

Senior Katie Maddox would get the nod on the mound for the Blue & Gold in game one and for good reason. The native of Macon had allowed only one earned run in her last 14 innings pitched. She would continue her fine form on Wednesday.

Runs were at a premium in game one as both teams went scoreless through the first three innings. The scoreless streak would end in the fourth as Georgia Southwestern would put two on the board. It was station-to-station ball as Mason Moreland lead the inning off with a single before stealing second base. The second baseman was advance to third on a sacrifice bunt by Hayley Knight to the Lynn third baseman Anne Marie Van Casteren. Moreland would be driven home on the next play by Gabby Buck's fielder's choice to second with an error putting Buck on second. Left fielder Rachel McElroy would mimic Moreland with a single and a steal of second base behind Buck. The freshman would set-up Avery Purser who drove in Buck with a ground ball to the shortstop.

After Hayley Knight and Gabby Buck reached base to lead off the sixth inning, Rachel McElroy would tally the RBI, driving in Knight on a single to give GSW the 3-0 lead.

Starter Katie Maddox, who was lights out through the first six innings, would run into trouble in the seventh. Maddox struck out five batters through six innings before getting the leadoff batter out in the seventh with a groundball to the short stop. She would give up one run over three consecutive hits before being replaced by Jessica Martin.

Martin would come on to protect a 3-1 lead with runners on second and third and only one out. She would shut the door forcing two ground balls to second and shortstop, which allowed only one run to score. Martin would earn her first save of the season and preserve the win for Katie Maddox.

GAME TWO: Georgia Southwestern-4  Lynn University-3 (9 Innings)

Just like game one, GSW would take a 3-0 lead to begin the game. It was Mason Moreland who single handily scored the first run. The sophomore would single in the game's first at-bat, steal second, reach third on a ground ball and score on a wild pitch in a matter of two batters.

Moreland would again score a run in the third inning as the Lady 'Canes would tally two more courtesy of a RBI single by Gabby Buck and a deep fly ball by Rachel McElroy to score Moreland. The 3-0 lead would hold until the fifth inning when Lynn would tie it up with a two-run double by Callie Darlin and a RBI single by Bianca Savulak. The three-run fifth would end starter Brittny Dennison's night after throwing four innings of scoreless ball, and she would be eliminated from earning a decision.

The relief pitching's second verse was the same as the first. Jessica Martin would again come out of the bullpen for the Lady Hurricanes with the game on the line. And once again, just like in the previous game, the senior would shut the door on the Fighting Knights. Martin would end the fifth before throwing a scoreless sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

With the score deadlocked at three runs apiece after seven innings, Georgia Southwestern would go down quietly 1-2-3 at the plate in the eighth inning. Yet that wouldn't be the story in the ninth inning.

Katie Wooten, by International Softball Tie Break Rule, would be placed on second to start the inning. It was Janna Anderson who would move Wooten to third via a sacrifice bunt down the first baseline. With Jessica Chewning at the plate, Wooten at third base and only one out, Head Coach Eddie Ward went to the ace up his sleeve. Instead of giving Chewning what seemed to be the obvious green light to hit, Coach Ward instead gave the signal for Chewning to bunt into the suicide squeeze.

"I called the squeeze because I knew Katie Wooten wasn't the fastest runner on the team, but she is the smartest base runner on the team," said Coach Eddie Ward.

With the count 2-1, Chewning placed the bunt down that caught the entire Lynn infield by surprise. The delayed reaction by pitcher Missy Montgomery not only gave Wooten enough time to score, but there wouldn't even be a play made on Chewning at first as she recorded the walk-off bunt single within the perfectly-timed suicide squeeze.

The walk-off win closed the books on the mid-week sweep by the Lady 'Canes. The pair of wins pushes their overall record to 12-10. They will now begin their conference portion of their schedule as they will travel to Georgia College this weekend. The double header in Milledgeville is scheduled to begin on Sunday at two o'clock in the afternoon.