March 18, 2012

Copy Cat Losses

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – After dropping a pair of one-run games the day before at USC Aiken, the Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes were looking for the resolve needed to bounce back as they faced Young Harris College less than 24 hours after playing in South Carolina. The pair of losses in the sweep by Young Harris (3-2, 4-3) mimicked the pair of one-run losses a day earlier at the hands of the Pacers.

GAME ONE: Georgia Southwestern-2  Young Harris College-3

Game one of Sunday took on an eerily similar feel to Saturday's game one that saw both teams go scoreless into the eleventh inning and saw GSW fail to record a hit until the tenth inning.  The Lady Hurricanes got the leadoff runner on in both the first and second innings, but they were unable to bring Mason Moreland or Avery Purser around in both innings.

Picking up offensively where she left off the day before, third baseman Gabby Buck would drive in the game's first run as her single in the third inning scored Mason Moreland. The 1-0 GSW lead would hold up for the next three innings.

Georgia Southwestern starting pitcher Katie Maddox was lights out from the get-go for Coach Ward and company. The senior would have a shutout going as she protected the lean, one-run lead over the course of the first six innings. Going into the seventh inning, Maddox had scattered four hits and struck out three Young Harris batters.

In the top of the seventh inning, Hayley Knight would single and Gabby Buck would follow it up with a walk. Rachel McElroy would come through for the Hurricanes with the RBI single to push the GSW advantage to 2-0. That's when the game took on the painful form of Saturday's heartbreaking, eleven-inning walk-off loss at USC Aiken.

Shortstop Tori Dyer would double to open the bottom of the seventh inning for the Mountain Lions. The next hitter, Sydnee Weaver, would single and advance Dyer to third. Weaver would advance to second on a wild pitch during the next at-bat. With runners in scoring position, Paige Sexton would nearly win the game in one swing as she tripled scoring Weaver and Dyer.

While Sexton was unable to win the game at the plate, she was able to score the game-winning in the next at-bat. After Jessica Martin came out of the GSW bullpen in relief of Maddox, she would throw a wild pitch to her first batter that got away from catcher Kiley Doster that allowed Sexton to score from third and win the game for the Mountain Lions.

GAME TWO: Georgia Southwestern-3  Young Harris College-4

The similarities to the previous day's series at USC Aiken continued in game two of the double header at Young Harris College. The day before, GSW conceded five first-inning runs to the Pacers. The Lady Hurricanes would concede four first-inning runs to the Mountain Lions to put them in the early hole.

Of the four Mountain Lion runs in the first inning, only two would be earned runs for GSW starter Casey Burns. A lead-off walk by Paige Sexton would be followed by two walks, two hits, a passed ball and a muffed throw. By the time the dust settled, Georgia Southwestern faced a four-run deficit.

The Blue & Gold would begin to chip away at the four-run lead run by run. Moreland would steal home on a double-steal as Katie Wooten would get thrown out attempting to steal second, which allowed Moreland to get the first GSW run up on the board. An inning later, Rachel McElroy would bring home Ashley Cavender to cut the one-time four-run Young Harris lead in half by the fifth inning.

True to form in the sixth inning, Coach Ward and company would come one run closer after Janna Anderson hit her first triple of her GSW career and was driven home in the next at-bat by a Brittny Dennison fly ball. Just as was the case in game two of yesterday's series, the Lady 'Canes would go into the seventh inning down just one run after chipping away at a multiple run lead for the entire game.

Moreland would get on-base to lead-off the inning, but was caught stealing in the next at-bat for the first out of the inning. Wooten would walk and Buck would single to put two on with only one out. The comeback bid would unfortunately come up short again as Ashley Cavender and Avery Purser would be retired before getting the game-tying run across.

For the second game in as many days, pitcher Jessica Martin would get the short-end of the stick. The senior threw ten shutout innings in the loss at USC Aiken. She threw five and one-third innings of one-hit, scoreless ball in relief on Sunday and would again not get a win.

The pair of losses on Sunday puts the Lady Hurricanes on an eight-game losing streak while pushing their record to 12-18 (0-6 PBC) for the season. The never-ending road trip will come to an end on Tuesday. The double header at Anderson University will wrap up their road trip, which included five straight double headers away from Americus. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20th.