No. 10 Pirates Sweep Pair From Columbus State On Friday
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The No. 10-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University softball squad stretched its winning streak to seven with a 3-2, 5-3 Peach Belt Conference doubleheader sweep of visiting Columbus State on Friday at the Armstrong Softball Field.
The Pirates (33-8, 9-1 PBC) remain atop the Peach Belt standings with the pair of wins, while Columbus State (26-14, 5-5 PBC) slips back to .500 in the league with the losses.
Armstrong manufactured single runs in the first, third and fifth innings to take a 3-0 lead in game one. Heather Walker's two-out RBI single to right in the first plated a run, then with runners on first and second in the third inning, a wild pitch by Columbus State starter Mollie Russell kicked off the catcher and hopped over the backstop netting, out of play, scoring April Jowers from second. An RBI groundout by Walker plated the key third run in the fifth.
In the top of the seventh, Kori Waugh delivered a two-out two-run home run to center to bring the Cougars to within one, 3-2, but Megan Barnwell retired Taylor Turner on a groundout to end the game.
Barnwell notched the win in game one, giving up four hits and two runs in seven innings, striking out seven, while Russell (12-8) took the loss in game one, giving up seven hits and three runs - two earned - in six innings, walking two while striking out one.
In game two, the Pirates again manufactured a run in the third inning on a two-out bunt single by Jowers, a stolen base and an extra base on an errant throw by catcher Kaycee Meeks. Whitney Galloway followed with an RBI single to put the Pirates up, 1-0.
Columbus State answered back in the top of the fourth as Casey Googe launched her PBC-leading 15th home run of the year, a two-run shot to put the Cougars up, 2-1.
Armstrong retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out, two-RBI double down the left field line from Walker. Morgan Staffins' RBI double in the top of the sixth tied the game at 3-3.
The Pirates pulled ahead for good in the bottom of the sixth as Russell, relieving Turner with two on and nobody out, hit pinch hitter Baillie Temples to load the bases. After a fielder's choice, Russell then hit pinch hitter Bridget Devlin to bring home the go ahead run, then Alexis Mercer delivered a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Caitlin Campbell.
Barnwell (14-3) then retired the Cougars in the seventh to notch the win in the second game with 1 2/3 innings of two-hit shutout relief, striking out two.
Turner (6-3) took the loss for the Cougars in game two, giving up eight hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings of work, walking three while striking out one.
Walker drove in half of the Pirates' eight runs in the doubleheader with a 2-for-5 day with four RBIs, while the nation's leading hitter, Jowers, went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and a stolen base. Celia Blome also picked up three hits in the doubleheader.
Googe led the Cougars on the day with a 3-for-6 performance with her home run and two RBIs. Morgan Knight and Morgan Staffins each contributed two hits in the doubleheader.
Armstrong returns to action on Sunday, April 1, hosting Georgia Southwestern at 2:00 p.m. at the Armstrong Softball Field. The Pirates will honor five seniors - Jowers, Walker, Temples, Galloway and Ashley Buckett - on Senior Day in a ceremony before the contest.