HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – After being delayed Friday, the NCAA South Regional I Tournament started Saturday with Valdosta State beating Barry, 3-1, but falling to Alabama-Huntsville in the winners’ game, 10-1. Valdosta State will face Barry again at noon Sunday. If the team wins, the Blazers will have to defeat Alabama-Huntsville twice to move on to the South Super Regionals. If VSU loses at all Sunday, the season will come to an end.
The leading hitters on the day for VSU were Natalia Morozova (.600 on three for five), Melessa Jackson (.500 on three for six) and Jordan Martin (.500 on two for four). Sarah Vaughn played the second game at the designated player position, and also turned in a .500 day on one for two. After that, no Blazer hit better than .200 on the day.
Saturday started strong with Holly Satterfield going seven innings against Barry, only giving up four hits, two walks and a run with six strikeouts. The only run came in the second inning in response to a two-run opening inning by VSU. After the Barry run scored, Satterfield retired 17 of the next 19 hitters, 14 in a row.
The Blazers put the pressure on early when Samantha Posey hit a leadoff single. She moved to third on a single from Marti Littlefield. Littlefield moved ahead on a wild pitch, and Morgan Johnson reached on an error.
Morozova stepped up to hit a rocket single to right field to plate Posey, and Colette Rollins singled to the shortstop to score Littlefield.
Barry was able to respond with a single run in the second inning, but then the game went scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. Ashley Steinhilber tacked on an insurance run when she blasted a home run deep over the center field fence. Barry could not respond, so Valdosta State advanced to the winners’ bracket to face Alabama-Huntsville after the Chargers put away Fort Valley State, 16-0.
In the first two innings against UAH, VSU had one more hit and two more baserunners than the Chargers. In the third inning, however, Alabama-Huntsville broke the game open with five runs.
Abby MacKay led the inning with a single. MacKay reached second safely on a Kellie Johnson fielder’s choice. With two runners on, leadoff hitter Kelli Long hit her sixth home run of the season to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
After that, the UAH right fielder, Meagan Billingsley doubled, and Stephanie Needham singled. That was when Head Coach Thomas Macera made the move from Margaret Carter to Krystle Robinson. Robinson hit the next batter, and then Kathryn Whitlock singled to plate Billingsley and the fourth run of the inning. The umpire called a balk against the next batter that scored Needham to complete the five-run third.
Valdosta State tallied two hits in the fourth inning in an effort to respond, but fell short of any runs. Alabama-Huntsville, however, put two more runs on the board in the fourth on a two-run homer from Needham.
The Blazers were able to score an unearned run on a passed ball in the fifth, but Alabama-Huntsville ended the game with a three-run walk off home run for the 10-1 victory in five innings.
Since Barry beat Fort Valley State in the losers’ bracket, the Blazers will see Barry again at noon Sunday. With a win, VSU will face Alabama-Huntsville at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. if necessary.
Continue to follow the NCAA South Regional action at www.vstateblazers.com where you can find live stats here. Fans can listen at www.talk921.com, and check in on the tournament at Alabama-Huntsville’s NCAA South Regional I homepage.