ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The top-seeded Lady Pirates of nationally-ranked No. 2 Armstrong Atlantic State University advanced to today’s semifinal round of the Peach Belt Conference softball tournament with a 6-4 victory over eighth-seeded Georgia Southwestern State University on Saturday.
The Lady Hurricanes (29-26), which split their regular-season doubleheader with Armstrong and entered Saturday’s matchup with a NCAA-era best 29 wins, jumped on the scoreboard first with a single run in the first inning as former Lee County star Hayley Knight was batted in from second off a single to right field by Avery Purser.
However, it would be the last time GSW would lead as the Lady Pirates answered in the bottom of the second frame with two runs to take their first lead of the game.
Georgia Southwestern was able to tie the game at 3-3 with two runs off a Purser single up the middle in the top of the fifth following an 18 minute rain delay, but Armstrong answered with three runs of its own to take a 6-3 lead.
Allison Pastor (13-10) was saddled with the loss for Georgia Southwestern after 4 2/3 innings of work that saw her give up nine hits, six runs and four walks with just one strikeout.
LADY RAMS BELT WAY THROUGH TOURNEY: The Albany State softball team hit four home runs in each of three victories in Saturday’s conference tournament, upping its tournament total to 16 homers.
“We aren’t very liked around here because we hit the ball very hard,” ASU coach Robert Skinner said. “(Other conference teams) don’t like to play us because we just hit the ball so hard.”
With an 11-3 victory against Kentucky State, an 11-2 victory against Clark Atlanta and an 8-0 victory against Claflin, the Lady Rams moved into today’s championship game of the loser’s bracket against Stillman.
If ASU beats Stillman, the top-seeded Lady Rams will meet Miles later in the day in the championship series.
Former Bainbridge star Vanessa Jones hit walk-off homers against Clark Atlanta and Claflin, while Chaconna Marks and Chelsea Hicks also hit two on Saturday.
Alexa Lopez was the winning pitcher vs. Claflin and Kentucky State, and Ambrionna Atkism picked up the win against Clark Atlanta.
DARTON BASEBALL SWEEPS: Darton State’s baseball team didn’t just come back on Saturday, the Cavaliers came back twice in the opener of a doubleheader against Gordon State.
Down 4-1 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Darton scrapped and clawed its way back to send the opener into extra innings and then celebrated when Riliani Familia hit the first pitch in the eighth out of the park for a walkoff homer that beat Gordon State, 5-4.
Cole Goodwin picked up the win with a brilliant performance in relief. He tossed three hitless innings, striking out two and walking two to keep things close until Darton exploded late to win it.
The seventh inning rally started with two outs when a pair of base hits and a walk set up the rally. Kody Adams had an RBI single and then Kyle Conkle delivered a two-run single to knot things at 4-4. Adams went 3-for-4 and scored twice, and Conkle went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs.
The Cavaliers, who are now 34-8 overall and 19-4 in Region XVII and tied with Georgia Perimeter for first place, won the second game, 3-1. Ryan Good won in relief. He pitched 2 1/3 innings without giving up a hit or a run. He struck out two and walked one and watched Darton break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth. Rashad Billups had an RBI single to give Darton a 2-1 lead, and then Ventavis Jerger pinch-ran for Billups. Jerger stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.
The Cavaliers, who are ranked No. 13 in the nation, host Gordon State at 1 p.m. today to complete the series.
DARTON SOFTBALL SPLITS: Darton’s softball team split a doubleheader against Georgia Perimeter on Saturday, losing the opener, 5-3, and then winning the nightcap, 7-1.
Heather Sexton hit a two-run homer and Kelsea Ogletree hit a solo homer in the first game. Jostlyn Higgerson pitched four innings and took the loss.
Savannah Carlisle went six innings and gave up just one run on six hits in the second game. She struck out six, and she also went 2-for-4 at the pate with a double. Chelsea Showers hit a two-run homer and also doubled for the Lady Cavs.
Darton plays West Georgia Tech at home at 2 p.m. Monday.
GSW seven shots back in PBC tournament
PINE MOUNTAIN — The 22nd-ranked Georgia Southwestern golf team shot rounds of 297 and 292 in the first two rounds of the Peach Belt Conference tournament on Saturday and are tied for second place with Columbus State heading into today’s final round.
South Carolina-Aiken, the third-ranked team in NJCAA, is 6-over and seven shots in front of GSW and CSU.
Former Lee County star and GSW senior Nate Gahman is tied for second individually at 1-under after rounds of 74 and 69, while Matthew Whittaker is tied for seventh at 1-over after rounds of 75 and 70.
Other GSW scores are Anders Olsson at 6 -over (74-76), Andrew Ritchot at 7-over (74-77) and J.P. Griffin at 12-over (75-81).