THOMASVILLE, Ga. – It what was suppose to be a tune-up for their upcoming back-to-back Peach Belt double headers to culminate the 2012 season. The Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes experienced more late-inning heart break. They suffered yet another one-run, late inning loss in their split with the Lady Nighthawks of Thomas University.
GAME ONE: Georgia Southwestern-6 Thomas University-7 (9 Innings)
The "first-inning blues" haunted Georgia Southwestern yet again in the day's first game against the Lady Nighthawks. A three-run first inning by Thomas University gave the home team a lead that would last for nearly five innings. All three runs came off of walks by Brittny Dennison who walked five batters in the inning alone.
TU's Rachel Ivancic would keep the Lady 'Canes off the board over the course of the next four innings. Six runners were left on base by the Blue & Gold during the first four innings after three GSW hits and three walks issued by Ivancic. Yet the Lady Hurricanes would break through in the fifth inning by taking the lead in one inning.
The four-run fifth inning by Coach Ward and company began with Mason Moreland's third triple of the season. The sophomore's three-bagger was followed up by a single by Hayley Knight. The first run of the inning came when Gabby Buck reached on an error that allowed Moreland to score from third. The other three runs came off one swing off the bat by Avery Purser. Purser's first homer of the season would bring in Knight and Buck and give the Lady Hurricanes a slim 4-3 lead.
The game see-sawed back to the Lady Nighthawks' favor in the sixth inning, which saw them put up a pair of runs to re-take the lead at 5-4. The single-run lead would be equalized in the top of the seventh inning via a Casey Burns' RBI double that scored Katie Wooten.
The game would go to extra innings that saw both teams fail to score in the eighth. The Lady Hurricanes drove in what would have been the game-winning run in the top of the ninth. Rachel McElroy drove in Hayley Knight with a single passed the TU shortstop to give GSW the 6-5 lead. Yet, the final blow would be delivered by Thomas University to finalize the heart-breaking loss for the Lady Hurricanes.
A RBI double by Jessie Turner would tie the game with no outs in the ninth. A single, walk and fielder's choice would set-up Kaley Clark for the game-winning hit. Clark would single to left field for the walk-off win.
Friday's walk-off loss marks the sixth time this season the Lady Hurricanes have lost a game in the final inning.
GAME TWO: Georgia Southwestern-6 Thomas University-0
The Lady 'Canes would get their revenge in the second game at Thomas University, but the payback wouldn't come together until the sixth inning. The five-run inning was more than enough run support for Erin Vick and Katie Maddox who combined to throw the five-hit shutout.
It was an old-fashioned pitcher's duel to begin game two. Thomas University's Alexa Fair would no-hit the Hurricanes through the first five innings, which also saw her retire the GSW side in order in three of those five innings. Erin Vick would go toe-to-toe with Fair only surrendering three hits in her four innings of work to open the game.
The game would be won by Coach Ward and company in the sixth inning. It was in the inning that the Lady Hurricanes would not only break up Fair's no-hit and shutout bids, but they would also put the losing decision on her in the sixth.
Five singles by the first six batters for the Blue & Gold nickel and dimed Fair for two earned runs on RBI singles by Gabby Buck and Rachel McElroy. Yet the game would be blown open by Ashley Cavender who would hit a triple with the bases loaded to push the lead to five runs.
GSW got an insurance run in the top of the seventh when three more Lady Hurricane singles in the inning culminated in a RBI single by Gabby Buck.
Katie Maddox would keep it interesting in the sixth and seventh innings as the senior would give up a pair of singles and a pair of walks in each inning respectively. The TU threats in both innings proved to be nothing more than that as Maddox would close the door on the Lady Nighthawks and earn her seventh win of the season by a score of 6-0.
The win and the loss on Friday put the Georgia Southwestern record at 21-27 (3-13 PBC). The Lady Hurricanes will end their season this weekend with back-to-back PBC double headers at home versus Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke on Saturday and Sunday. First pitch on Saturday against the Lady Patriots is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Lady Hurricanes have not been officially eliminated from the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. They are currently tenth out of eleven teams in the PBC, which features an eight-team tournament field. Coach Ward and company would have to win all four games over the course of the next two days. FMU and UNCP are the sixth and eleventh teams in the standings respectively and have a combined record of 43-42 (9-19 PBC). GSW would also need Lander and Columbus State to lose a majority of their remaining eight conference games.