VSU Softball Splits With Shorter to Close Out Weekend Series

| March 15, 2016


VALDOSTA – The Valdosta State softball team split a doubleheader (8-0, 1-3) in Gulf South conference softball action against the Shorter Hawks on Saturday at Steel’s Diamond at Blazer Park.

With the split, the Blazers moved to 18-8-1 on the season and 8-7 in GSC play. Meanwhile, the Hawks finished the day at 13-9 overall and 8-6 in conference play.

Valdosta State put together a strong effort in game one, which included a complete game shutout for Caitlyn Calhoun, who improved to 12-4 on the season after allowing just two hits over six innings of work.

The Blazers defeated the Hawks by way of the mercy rule thanks to some timely hitting that led to eight runs scored on six hits. Valdosta State’s biggest inning came in the third, when the red and black scored four runs in the frame after Heather Robinson sparked the half inning with her second home run of the weekend. Lauren Shaw drove in Chelsea Canara later in the inning with an RBI single through the left side, and two additional runs scored after Carson Carriker booted a Taylor Hartenbach grounder at second base one batter later.

The surge for the Blazers in the third added to a 3-0 lead the Blazers established in the first two innings after a first inning, two-run triple by Hayley Cruthers and a two-out RBI single in the second by Jaime Phillips, who returned to the lineup in Saturday’s first game as the eight hole hitter after missing Friday’s contest due to illness.

Kiley Rusen put the finishing touches on the game in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI double to left center field that drove in Phillips, who led off the inning with a walk and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Shaw.

Shorter put a halt to VSU’s momentum early in game two, as leadoff hitter Niki Cook led off with a walk, and Kendall Johnson followed with a homer to left center.

Facing a 2-0 deficit, Cruthers struck again for the Blazers with a long solo home run to dead center field. From that point forward, both teams were held hitless until Shorter’s Savannah Thomas led off the fifth inning with a single. Blazer starterHuntyre Elling pitched around the single, however, to keep the Blazers close at 2-1.

Shorter added an unearned run in the sixth after Johnson reached on an error and came around to score on a Kameron Carter double that stayed just inside the third base bag and rolled into the left field corner.

Valdosta State made one final push in the seventh inning, but hard hit line drives off the bat of both Chelsea Canara and pinch hitter Falisia Murphy left the bases loaded for VSU and resulted in the 3-1 loss.

Elling took the loss for the Blazers in game two, despite allowing just three hits in the contest. Shorter’s Payton Lippert picked up the win to improve to 7-5 on the year after securing her second victory of the weekend. Lippert allowed just two hits by the Blazer offense and struck out four.

Valdosta State returns to action on Tuesday to face Florida Southern for a non-conference doubleheader in Lakeland, Fla. First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m., with live coverage available at www.vstateblazers.com.


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