VSU Softball Splits With Florida Tech

| February 22, 2017

VALDOSTAThe No. 11 ranked Valdosta State softball team rebounded in game two of a non-conference double header against Florida Tech to finish off a Tuesday split (2-11, 6-5) against the Panthers at Steel’s Diamond at Blazer Park in Valdosta, Ga.

The split moved Valdosta State to 13-3 overall on the season, while the Panthers fell to 10-5 overall.

Valdosta State opened game one with a strong start in the first inning, recording three hits for two first inning runs. Chelsea Canara, Taylor Hartenbach, and Hayley Cruthers teamed up for each of the three singles, which came in succession and put the Blazers in front 2-0.

Following the first inning surge, Florida Tech’s Rachel Pence settled in to allow just two more hits and hold Valdosta State scoreless throughout the rest of the contest. During that time, the Panther offense exploded for 11 runs, all of which came in the third and fourth innings.

Florida Tech’s biggest inning came in the fourth, when the Panthers racked up seven hits to plate seven runs. Starter Avery Lamb finished out the inning, but gave way to Kathryn Carter upon its completion. Lamb suffered her first loss of the season in the game to fall to 7-1 on the season.

In game two, Vanessa Rubio overcame an 0-2 count in the first inning to launch a low-liner just over the right center field wall and give FIT an early 1-0 lead.

The advantage remained intact until Canara, who went 5-for-5 on the day, blasted a moonshot over the left field wall to tie the game up at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning.

One inning later, the Blazers chased FIT starter Amanda Kahn when five of the first six batters hit safely to start the fourth. Valdosta State took a 3-1 lead during the sequence and greeted relief pitcher McKenzie Krutsinger with a quick three-spot, after third baseman Alexus Smith committed a three-run error on the next play by misfiring to first base as she tried to throw out Hartenbach at first with the bases loaded.

The inning proved to be a critical one for Valdosta State, as the Panthers took advantage of three Blazer errors to score four runs in the top half of the next inning. Kasie Johnson settled in after that, however, and held FIT scoreless the rest of the way to improve to 3-2 on the season.

Johnson’s final line included just three hits allowed in the contest, and the junior allowed just three earned runs to compensate for the Blazers’ missed opportunities on offense with eight runners left on base.

The Blazers return to conference play this weekend for a three-game weekend series against the visiting Argonauts of West Florida. First pitch for Saturday’s double header is slated for 2:00 p.m. at Steel’s Diamond at Blazer Park.

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