Balanced Effort Lands Blazers a Pair of 10-0 Wins Over Miles

| March 19, 2014

VSU-Softball-4VALDOSTA, GA – Valdosta State combined a no-hitter by Brianna Hancock and a one-hitter by Maci Fletcher with a bevy of runs to manhandle Miles on Tuesday afternoon with a pair of 10-0 non-conference wins at Steel’s Diamond at Blazer Park.

Valdosta State notched the two victories to improve the squad’s 2014 record to 24-8 overall, while Miles dropped to 7-22.

Freshman hurler Maci Fletcher‘s stock continued to rise for Valdosta State, with Tuesday’s outing being her best yet. The West Forsyth High School graduate was just three outs away from a perfect game before it was broken up by the Golden Bears’ center fielder Robyn Wallace in the top half of the fifth inning.

Fletcher finished the game with a line that included no runs allowed, six strikeouts, and one hit. The win moved the young pitcher’s record to a perfect 8-0 on the year and served as her first shutout of the season.

Supporting Fletcher’s effort was a Blazer offense that produced runs in each of their four opportunities. The barrage began in the first inning, when Courtney Albritton singled back through the box and scored on a follow up double by Kiley Rusen. Two batters later, Chelsea Canara walked, and both Canara and Rusen moved up on a passed ball. Hannah Strickland then reached on an infield single to load the bases and set the stage for Fran Johnson, who drove in one of her two runs in the game with a fielder’s choice ground ball to the shortstop. The final two runs of the opening frame came thanks to Valdosta’s own Heather Robinson, who doubled in a pair of runs to give VSU a 4-0 spot after one.

Valdosta State scored two runs in the second, third, and fourth innings to reach their ten run total. Highlighting the run-fest was Albritton’s 10th home run of the season, a liner to center that cleared the fence in the second inning and served as the first of two home runs on the day, and the third of four in the past six days for the junior.

In game two, Hancock held the Golden Bears in check with her first no-hitter of the year to improve her record to 9-4. The senior struck out eight batters in the game to improve her season total to 82. The no hitter was Hancock’s second of her career at VSU, the other being against Albany State on February 18, 2013.

“We’ve been working on hitting spots ahead in the count this week, and luckily I was able to do that early in the game today,” said Hancock. “I wasn’t able to hit those spots as effectively in the second half of the game, but they were offering at my stuff, which really helped.”

Hancock praised her teammates for helping her hold the Golden Bears hitless. “I can always count on our offense to produce, and they did a great job again today.” She also credited her team’s defensive brigade. “My defense is awesome. I know that players like Shelby (Altman) are going to give themselves up completely out there to help us win, and you really can’t ask for any more than that from the players behind you out there.”

Albritton led the charge again at the plate in game two, with her second home run of the day. The blast was a leadoff solo shot – her fourth leadoff homer of the year – to increase her hitting streak to eight games. The streak dates back to March 8th, and Albritton has had multiple hits in six of those eight contests.

Eight different players hit safely in the final game of the day, and both Johnson and Shelby Altman hit a perfect 2-for-2. In addition, Johnson drove in three of the Blazers’ ten runs in the game.

Riding a seven game winning streak, the Blazers now look ahead to the weekend. The Lady Bucs of Christian Brothers come to town on Saturday to open up a three game Gulf South Conference series, which is slated for a 3:00 p.m. double header start. The series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., and all of the weekend contests can be followed via live stats, a video webcast, and Twitter updates (@BlazerAthletics).

Source: Valdosta State University Athletics

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