ASU Lady Rams swept in opener

ALBANY — Albany State softball coach Robert Skinner has plans to turn around a softball program that finished well under .500 last season.

Monday wasn’t a good start.

The Lady Rams opened their season with a pair of losses to West Georgia, losing by a combined 22 runs. West Georgia won the opener, 10-3, and then won the second game in an 18-3 rout.

Other than two RBIs from former Bainbridge star Vanessa Jones in the first game, the Lady Rams’ bats were silent.

The Lady Wolves captured the early lead after scoring a run in first inning. West Georgia, third baseman Nicole Yancey had four hits, two home runs, seven RBI and three runs to lead West Georgia. Yancey, the team’s lead-off hitter, doubled to right field, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by left fielder Jen Culberson and scored on an RBI single by center fielder Megan Garcia to put the Lady Wolves on the board.

West Georgia took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after right fielder Ashley Langley singled down the third base line and stole second base. Yancey singled down the left field line and scored Langley.

Albany State picked up three runs in the bottom of the second inning, but that would be all the scoring for the Lady Rams. Jones was the big playmaker after recording a hit and batting in two runs. Jones smashed a double to left field to score pitcher Chelsea Hicks, who singled up the middle, and first baseman Shelby Gale, a Seminole County grad.

Later in the inning, second baseman Adrienne Morris reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring centerfielder Virginia Morris.

The Lady Wolves scored five runs in the third inning, including Yancey’s grand slam over the left field wall. Catcher Lindsey Ellenburg scored earlier in the inning off a sacrifice fly to centerfield. The Lady Wolves scored two more runs in the fifth inning and once in the seventh. Pitcher Antoinette Diaz struck out four Lady Rams and gave up three hits to take the victory. Hicks took the loss for the Lady Rams, after striking out three Lady Wolves and giving up 11 hits.

In game No. 2, West Georgia took a 1-0 lead early after Yancey scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield. After a scoreless second inning, the Lady Rams scored three in the bottom on the third to take the 3-1 lead. Jones reached on a throwing error and advanced to second, and Adrienne Morris scored on the error. Catcher Chaconna Marks, who was named to the pre-season all-conference team, singled and advanced to second on the throw, advancing Jones to third base. Designated player Kandis Banks singled through the left side, scoring Marks and Jones.

The Lady Rams remained scoreless for the remainder of the game, while West Georgia just kept pouring it on.

West Georgia took advantage of four errors combined in the fourth and fifth innings and scored six unearned runs to take a 10-3 lead into the top of the sixth. The Lady Wolves tacked on eight more runs in the eighth inning to seal the victory. Pitcher Marissa Patterson went five innings, struck out four Lady Ram batters and gave up five hits. ASU pitcher Shaywona Marks struck out two Wolves.

The Lady Rams will be back in action Wednesday at home against Georgia Southwestern in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.