March 17, 2012

Two Costly Innings Cough Up Double Header

AIKEN, S.C. – After being one of the last Peach Belt Conference teams to begin the conference portion of their schedule, The Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes have been on a whirlwind tour to open PBC play. The fast and furious conference scheduling continued with a Saturday double header at USC Aiken. The Blue & Gold would play 18 total innings of their two games, and they would lose both games on two costly innings. USC Aiken (12-8, 3-3 PBC) would sweep the Lady Hurricanes 1-0 and 6-5 on Saturday afternoon.

GAME ONE: Georgia Southwestern- 0  USC Aiken- 1 (11 Innings)

The two teams were locked in a pitcher's duel from the get go with both starters throwing three scoreless and hit-less innings to open the game. USC Aiken would get two hits in the fourth inning before Jessica Martin got Kelley King to pop up to end the inning.

GSW got their first two base runners of the game via two walks from Hayley Knight and Jessica Martin walks in the third inning. Neither Lady Hurricane would cross home in the inning.

The GSW starter would get into trouble issuing back-to-back walks with two outs in the fifth inning. A wild pitch from Martin would advance both runners to second and third.  Just like in the fourth inning, Martin would get out of the jam in the fifth inning with another pop up to shortstop Janna Anderson. She would again face adversity in the home half of the seventh inning after Kelley King reached base on a passed ball on a swinging third strike. The following two Pacers would both move King over. The senior from Woodstock would again get out of the jam getting Kayla Denham to fly out to Katie Wooten in right to force the game into extra innings.

The game would be saved in the bottom of the eighth inning for Georgia Southwestern by center fielder Hayley Knight. Knight would catch a fly ball in straight away center and then gun down a tagging Megan Taylor at the plate to force the game into the ninth inning.

For the Pacers, starting pitcher India Kornegay would take a no-hitter through nine innings and one out into the tenth before it was broken up by a bunt single from Katie Wooten.

Mason Moreland would reach base to open the 11th inning on a USCA fielding error. Her successful stolen base attempt of second would be negated as she was called out for leaving first base early, which effectively killed the GSW scoring threat in the 11th inning.

The game would be won by USC Aiken in the bottom of the 11th inning. After striking out the first two Pacer batters, Lindsey Jones would reach first base on a Janna Anderson error. After reaching first, Jones took off for second as neither Anderson nor Moreland covered second base after the error. A passed ball on the next pitch allowed Jones to advance to third base. Hillary Stewart would then hit a hard ground ball to Gabby Buck at third base. Buck would mishandle the play, which allowed Jones to score from third for the game-winning run.

Jessica Martin would pitch admirably in the loss. She would throw over ten innings without being charged with an earned run while scattering three hits and striking out five Pacers.

The heartbreaking loss by the Hurricanes marks the third time this season they have lost a game in walk-off fashion with the previous losses coming against Valdosta State and Georgia College.

GAME TWO: Georgia Southwestern- 5 USC Aiken-6

What took the Lady Hurricanes ten innings to do in game one was accomplished in one at-bat as Mason Moreland would single to lead off the second game. Moreland would go on score the first run of the game on Aiken pitcher Samantha Lemm's throwing error. It marked the first run of the day scored by GSW after eleven innings of play. However the Blue & Gold would be unable to tally on any more runs in the first despite loading the bases with two outs.

The answer from USC Aiken would be swift and immediate in the first inning as a GSW fielding error would help open the flood gates even further. The Pacers would tally five runs on four hits, two walks and one error. GSW starter Brittny Dennison would see three of the five first inning runs scored as earned runs.

Dennison would not escape the third inning as USC Aiken would score their sixth run of the game after Dennison's fourth walk of the game. Casey Burns would come on in relief for the Lady Hurricanes, and she would get the Blue & Gold out of the inning before any more damage would be done.

Georgia Southwestern would begin to chip away at the 6-1 USC Aiken lead in the visitor half of the fourth inning. Moreland and Chewning would lead off the inning with singles before advancing on a USC Aiken fielding error. Chewning would score after being driven in by a Gabby Buck groundout to second base.

Coach Ward and company would cut the four-run lead in half in the top of the sixth inning as Gabby Buck drove in Chewning and Moreland with a RBI double. Despite reaching second on her double with only one out left, Buck would not come around to get GSW within one run.

The Hurricanes would chip away even more so in the seventh inning as Katie Wooten would walk to lead off the inning. Pitcher Casey Burns would drive in Wooten with her first career hit, a double to left center, as the Blue & Gold would cut the home team lead to one run. Burns would get put out after rounding second on her double and not getting backed to the base in time. Avery Purser would strikeout and Jessica Chewning would pop out to end the game as the Hurricane comeback bid would come up short by a score of 6-5.

The Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes are now 12-16 (0-6 PBC) in the 2012 season. They will look to snap their six-game losing streak on Sunday, March 19th. The Lady Canes will blow into the campus of Young Harris College for a double header scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

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