VALDOSTA, Ga. – Georgia Southwestern pushed Valdosta State to the edge in game one, but Courtney Albritton hit a walk-off home run to win it. In the second, the bats were popping for VSU as the Blazers cruised to a 9-1 run-ruled game.
Georgia Southwestern’s Jessica Martin held the powerful VSU offense without a hit until the final inning. Sarah Vaughn stepped in as a pinch hitter and hit a single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh inning in a scoreless game. Albritton followed Vaughn with her team leading third home run of the season to clinch the 2-0 win in the opening game Wednesday.
Albritton helped senior pitcher Alanna Hadley notch her fifth victory of the season. Hadley turned in a stellar performance with seven strikeouts and only three hits allowed in seven innings.
The second game of the day was full of much more offense. The Hurricanes started the scoring with a run in the top of the second, but Valdosta State answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Ashley Steinhilber walked and April Hutchens reached on an error by the catcher after laying down a beautiful bunt. Albritton walked after Hutchens, then Morgan Johnson brought all the base runners in with a double to left field for a 3-1 lead.
Steinhilber led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double to right center. She advanced to third on a wild pitch. After Georgia Southwestern walked Albritton again, Steinhilber scored on a Samantha Posey single to the shortstop.
After holding the Hurricanes scoreless in the top off the fifth, VSU smelled the second victory of the day. The Blazers put up five runs in the inning to clinch the game by run rule. Vaughn reached on a fielder’s choice followed by a single from Clare Wamsley. Steinhilber singled next, and then GSW hit Angela O’Connor to score Vaughn.
Albritton came through again with a two-run double that led to a third score with the catcher misplayed the throw from the outfield. With just one out, VSU needed one more run to clinch the game. Johnson popped out to center field, but Albritton scored the winning run on the throw.
Posey and Steinhilber led the team in average on the day, both hitting .500 on two of four. Steinhilber added three runs scored, as did Albritton. Albritton and Johnson finished with four runs batted in each to lead the team.
The Blazers move to 9-2 on the season while Georgia Southwestern drops to 5-9. Valdosta State gets a long break before returning to the VSU Softball Complex for a 1 p.m. doubleheader against UNC-Pembroke on March 6.
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