VSU Softball Splits Double Header Home Opener With Flagler

| February 3, 2016
source: VStateBlazers.com

source: VStateBlazers.com

VALDOSTA, Ga. – The Valdosta State softball team split their doubleheader home opener with Flagler (9-0, 4-5) on Tuesday evening in non-conference softball action at Steel’s Diamond in Valdosta, Ga.

The Blazers moved to 5-1 on the young season after the day’s results, while the Saints kept their record even at 3-3.

Valdosta State took control of the opening contest early with six runs in the bottom half of a first inning that included six hits and one costly error early in the frame. Jaime Phillips singled to left to open up the inning, and Kiley Rusen followed with a double to left center. A heads up play by Flagler pitcher Katelynn Smith caught Phillips off of third after Morgan grounded back to the circle for a fielder’s choice, but Morgan advanced to third one batter later and pinch runner Caylee Hancock scored the first run of the game after Haylee Cruthers reached on a ground ball that got through Flagler’s Malloree Allen at second. The next five batters reached on a walk and four hits to cap off the big inning.

The Blazers added a pair in the third, beginning with Lauren Shaw’s first homer of the season, a solo shot to left center field. Later in the inning, the Blazers improved their lead to 8-0 on an RBI double by Phillips that drove in Kaylee Brown, who pinch ran for Heather Robinson and stole second base after Robinson was hit by a pitch.

Valdosta State’s final run came in the fourth on a Chelsea Canara sac fly to right that scored Cruthers from third and gave starter Caitlyn Calhoun plenty of room to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Game two appeared to be in control for Huntyre Elling and the Blazers after Phillips and Taylor Hartenbach teamed up for a pair of second inning RBI’s and Elling blanked the Saints for three straight.

The contest took a turn in the fourth, however, when Hannah Hudson and Mackenzie Conley reached on back to back singles and both came in to score on Allen’s first double of the season.

Callie Reed held the Blazer bats at bay, while her offense picked up three additional runs and took their first lead of the game on another big blow by Allen, a three-run shot to left center in the top half of the sixth.

Trailing 5-2, the Blazers made a final push in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run monster shot off the bat of Rusen that hit halfway up the light pole in right center field. Reed weathered the storm for Flagler, however, and escaped with the victory to improve to 3-0 on the year.

Despite Elling’s gutsy effort from the circle that included five strikeouts and one walk, the senior also allowed nine hits and was unable to solve Allen, who finished 2-for-3 with five RBI’s in the nightcap. As a result, Elling suffered her first loss of the year to fall to 2-1 overall.

Phillips and Hartenbach both finished with three hits on the day, and Rusen’s homer represented her fourth in just six games played. Five different Blazers drove in two or more RBI’s on Tuesday, and Robinson finished a perfect 2-for-2 with a walk and a free trip after being hit by a pitch.

The Blazers will hit the road for a long road stretch, beginning with a trip to Clearwater, Fla. this weekend for three contests at the Eckerd Invitational. Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend (@BlazerAthletics), and check for live coverage and results right here at www.vstateblazers.com.


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