Calhoun Leads Blazers to Series Win Over Lady Choctaws

| April 4, 2016
caitlyn calhoun

Caitlyn Calhoun picked up two wins and eclipsed 500 career strikeouts on the weekend. (Source: VStateBlazers.com)

CLINTON, Miss. – Caitlyn Calhoun recorded ten more strikeouts, and the bottom half of the Valdosta State softball batting order fueled the Blazer offense to help VSU to a 3-1 Gulf South Conference win over the Mississippi College Lady Choctaws in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at the MC Softball Complex in Clinton, Miss.

The win helped capture the series win for the red and black and lifted VSU to a 28-9-2 record overall. The Blazers also improved to 14-8-1 in GSC play, while MC fell to 26-12 overall and 15-9 against league opponents.

For the third time on the weekend, the Blazers took an early lead in the top half of the first. Jaime Phillips walked for the 36th time on the year to start the game off, and Kiley Rusen delivered a one-out single off of the center field wall. With Phillips at second base and Rusen at first, Hayley Cruthers laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position, and Chelsea Canara drove Phillips in with a ground ball to second, which put VSU on top 1-0 early.

Calhoun allowed two hits and a walk in the bottom of the first, but she pitched around the trouble and induced a foulout off of Kimmie Conley’s bat to escape a bases-loaded jam unscathed.

Falisia Murphy, who earned her first start of the season in place of an injured Lauren Shaw, made the most of her opportunity with her second home run of the season. The at bat marked just the third of the season for the junior transfer.

Mississippi College broke through against Calhoun in the third, when Katharine Lee led the frame off with a bunt single, stole second, and scored MC’s only run of the game on a Megan Everett single up the middle. Haley Thompson came on to pinch run for Everett and moved all the way to third after stealing second and advanced on a third when Murphy’s throwing attempt got by Phillips and trickled into center field. With the potential tying run at third base and nobody out, Calhoun knuckled down to strike out the side and hold the 2-1 lead intact for Head Coach Thomas Macera’s squad.

Canara, Brandy Morgan, and Taylor Hartenbach connected for three consecutive singles in the sixth, which set up Murphy for another RBI opportunity. The junior transfer capitalized by driving in Canara from third with a sacrifice fly to center field. The run gave VSU a 3-1 advantage and proved to be the final tally of the contest.

As a result of the homer and the sacrifice fly in the game, Murphy now has two hits, both homers, two runs scored, three RBI’s and eight total bases in just four official at bats on the year.

Calhoun improved to 19-4 on the season and dropped her ERA to 1.45 following the effort. Her 21 strikeouts on the weekend improved her season total to a league-leading 173, while her career total rose to 511. Calhoun is just the second pitcher in VSU history to record over 500 strikeouts.

MC’s Carlie Sargent suffered the loss and fell to 13-7 on the year.

Valdosta State returns home on Thursday for a non-conference showdown against Albany State on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. before the Blazers welcome conference rival Alabama-Huntsville to town on Saturday and Sunday for their final home series of the season.

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