April 1, 2012

No Laughing Matter

SAVANNAH, Ga. – With a three-game winning streak going into the weekend, the Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes were looking to improve their already hot hand. The chance to improve was delayed a day after their Saturday doubleheader at Flagler College was postponed due to inclement weather. The one-day wait took the winds out of the Hurricanes' sails as they were swept by #10 Armstrong Atlantic (35-8, 11-1 PBC) 6-1, 7-1 on Sunday afternoon.

GAME ONE: Georgia Southwestern-1  #10 Armstrong Atlantic-6

When a team is ranked among the best teams in the nation, and they have leading hitter in the nation, they usually will threaten early and often. Right on cue Armstrong came out of the gate strong. Their three runs, three hits and three stolen bases in the inning showed their nationally-ranked might.

GSW starter Casey Burns would settle down in the second inning, which saw the senior keep the Pirates off the board. The scoreless hiatus would end in the next inning as Armstrong would tally two runs via a Celia Blome sacrifice fly and a Lauren Wilcox single. The third inning would be the last for Burns who would be spelled by Katie Maddox. Burns would concede five runs on seven hits with one walk over her three innings pitched.

On the other side of the pitching duel, Armstrong's Megan Barnwell would stymie the Georgia Southwestern hitters. The right-hander would only give up two hits, one walk while striking out six in her scoreless opening five innings of work.

The Blue & Gold hitters would get to Barnwell in the sixth inning beginning with a Jessica Chewning lead-off double to left center. Two batters later Mason Moreland would score Chewning on a single to center to break-up the shutout attempt from Barnwell.

The Lady 'Canes would threaten again in the seventh inning as they got another lead-off double, this time off the bat of Avery Purser. A Rachel McElroy single would put runners on the corners with one out, but GSW would not cut any further into the 6-1 Armstrong lead.

GAME TWO: Georgia Southwestern- 1 #10 Armstrong Atlantic-7

Mason Moreland, the catalyst of GSW offense, would again kick things off for the Lady Hurricanes. Her lead-off walk was followed by an Armstrong throwing error. Moreland would advance to third before scoring the game's first run on a RBI by Avery Purser.

The Armstrong response would come in the second inning as Jessica Martin would work her way into a bases loaded jam with no outs. She would begin to close the door with back-to-back strikeouts, but wouldn't be able to shut the door completely. A wild pitch and a single would give Armstrong a pair of runs to take the 2-1 lead.

The scoring action in the third inning would happen on the final out. With runners on first and second, Lauren Wilcox would single scoring one on the play. An error at the plate between Chewning and Martin would allow a second run to score as Wilcox rounded second base. As the ball trickled towards the Armstrong Atlantic dugout, Wilcox would push her luck and attempt to advance to home, but she was put out at the plate by Gabby Buck. By inning's end, Armstrong had pushed their lead to 4-1.

The wildness would continue in the fourth inning as April Jowers would attempt to bunt with Shelby Duff on single. Moreland and Purser would be unable to connect successfully as Jowers would advance to second and third on the error. Duff would score and while attempting to do the same Jowers would slip rounding third and get caught in a rundown on the rare 9-6-2-5-1 put out.

Armstrong Atlantic would tack on insurances runs to push their lead to 7-1. The lead would be more than enough for Armstrong's Caitlin Campbell. The lefthander would pitch all seven innings in the win. She scattered three hits and struck out six in the complete game effort.

Mason Moreland would safely reach base in both games on Sunday. The sophomore has now reached base safely in twelve straight games. It's the second time this season that Moreland has successfully reached in twelve consecutive games.

The pair of losses puts the Georgia Southwestern record to 16-24 (1-11 PBC). The Lady Hurricanes will travel back to St. Augustine to make up their postponed double header at Flagler College. First pitch is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, April 2nd at 3 p.m.