HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WALB) - The No. 2 Valdosta State softball dropped a 5-3 decision in the regular season finale Sunday at No. 18 Alabama Huntsville. With the loss, VSU shares the regular season Gulf South Conference title with Auburn Montgomery as both teams finished 25-5 in league play.
AUM (35-5, 25-5 GSC) earned the top-seed in the upcoming GSC Championship next week at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Ala., by tiebreaker over VSU as the Warhawks went 1-2 against UAH, while VSU was 0-3. VSU (32-6, 25-5 GSC) will be the No. 2-seed in the tournament, while UAH (30-10, 23-7 GSC) will be the No. 3-seed. The Blazers will face No. 7-seed Lee in their first game of the GSC Championship on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET. Click on the link to the right to the GSC Softball Championship Central.
After never leading in the first two games of the series yesterday, the Blazers came out and gained the early lead Sunday with a promising start. Freshman Morgan Hill took the very first pitch of the game from Kiara Akles to left field for a solo home run for her 16th round-tripper of the season and a 1-0 lead.
VSU then took a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Charger miscue in the third inning. VSU sophomore hurler Samantha Richards worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth with a pair of key strikeouts to end the threat. In the fifth, however, UAH loaded the bases with nobody out as Ashley Cornell singled down the line on a 2-2 count and Kaylee Vaught singled up the middle, also on a 2-2 count, tying the game.
Richards got the final two outs as UAH left the bags full for the second-straight inning. In the sixth, VSU put two on with two out, but was unable to break the tie and, in the bottom of the sixth, UAH loaded the bases again. This time, the Chargers hit into a double play, but Akles helped her own cause with her third home run of the series – a three run shot to left field for a 5-2 score.
Down to their final at bat and final out, M. Hill singled for her third hit of the game and free passes to junior Nicole Pennington and senior Logan Hill, loaded the bases. Freshman pinch-hitter Katie Proctor laced an RBI single to center field for a 5-3 deficit, but Akles got a fly out to end the game as VSU left the bags full. For the game, VSU scored three runs on eight hits with no errors, while UAH had five runs on 13 hits and two errors. M. Hill was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and one RBI with the home run, while no other Blazer had more than one hit. Richards fell to 21-4 on the year in 5.2 innings, allowing 13 hits, five earned runs, walked three and fanned eight.
Senior Avery Lamb pitched the final third of an inning, facing one batter. Akles went the distance for the Chargers as she improved to 5-4 on the year, allowing eight hits, three runs – two earned, walked four and fanned two. She went 1 for 3 from the dish with one run scored and three RBI on the home run putting UAH ahead for good. Mackenzie Nutt and Vaught each had three hits for the Chargers.