April 14, 2012

Going Down Swinging

AMERICUS, Ga. – With fading hopes of qualifying for the Peach Belt Conference Tournament, the Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes were looking to fight to improve those glimmering hopes. The visiting Francis Marion Patriots were having none of it as they silenced the Hurricanes bats and took both games from GSW 7-0, 2-1. The pair of losses seals the post season fate for the Blue & Gold as they are officially eliminated from the conference tournament.

GAME ONE:  Georgia Southwestern-0  Francis Marion-7

FMU starting pitcher Kayla Ellingsen kept the Hurricane bats at bay for the entire game. Ellingsen would pitch the seven-inning complete game shutout scattering seven hits giving up no walks and striking out eight batters.

While FMU's starter was shutting down GSW's hitters, GSW's ace Jessica Martin struggled to combat the Patriot lineup. Martin wouldn't get out of the third inning after giving up four runs (two earned runs) on two hits while walking five hitters.

After opening the second inning with her only strikeout, Martin would walk one batter and hit the next to set herself up for trouble. Another walk and hit batter would be compounded by a defensive error that handed Francis Marion three easy runs in the inning with Sara Broderick earning two RBI's in the inning.

The three-run lead would be increased by one run in the fourth courtesy of a passed ball. The handful of runs would be more than enough for the Patriots' Ellingsen who would retire the GSW side in order in two of her seven innings pitched.

The Patriots would tack on three more insurance runs in the sixth inning as they would batter GSW reliever Casey Burns for three runs as three different Patriots recorded RBI's in the inning.

After failing to reach base in game one, sophomore Mason Moreland ends her streak of 20 consecutive games where she has safely reached base.

GAME TWO: Georgia Southwestern-1  Francis Marion-2

After receiving a pitching gem in game one from Kayla Ellingsen, Francis Marion would receive another complete game gem from their staff. This time it was Taylor Luff who would stifle the offense of Coach Ward and company.

Luff, the sophomore, would no-hit Georgia Southwestern through the first four innings on her way to the complete game victory. She would throw seven innings, surrendering one earned run on two hits with eleven strikeouts. Luff would win the pitching showdown over GSW's starter Katie Maddox who also pitched well in a complete game performance.

Maddox would go seven innings conceding six hits, two runs (one earned) to keep the FMU hitters in check. The senior would fall victim of a lack of run support and would take the loss in the decision.

Francis Marion would score one of their two runs in the first inning off of Maddox. Sara Broderick would open the game with a single, and she would score two batters later when Tristan Faile would hit a double to left center. It was an early blemish for Maddox who would retire the side in order in the next two innings and not surrender another run until the sixth inning.

It would be Tristan Faile again to drive in FMU's second run of the game. She would hit a double past a diving Janna Anderson as she and Ashley Jaramillo would advance an extra base as the ball was misplayed in the outfield by Rachel McElroy. The error by the GSW outfielder would allow Jaramillo to score.

The Lady Hurricanes would keep it interesting in the home half of the sixth inning as they would cut the two-run Patriot lead in half. After Janna Anderson opened the inning with a walk, Gabby Buck would drive Anderson in with a long single to left center. It would be as close as the Blue & Gold would come in game two.

The Lady Hurricanes were unable to score a tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning as Taylor Luff would strike out all three GSW batters to shut the door on the game.

The pair of losses sets the Georgia Southwestern record to 21-29 (3-15 PBC), and it officially eliminates them from the conference tournament. This means the Lady Hurricanes will play their final two games of the 2012 season tomorrow (Sunday) against UNC Pembroke. It will be Senior Day as Katie Wooten, Jessica Chewning, Jessica Martin, Casey Burns, Katie Maddox and Gabby Buck will all play their last games in the Georgia Southwestern uniform. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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