Albany State catcher Chaconna Marks tags out Paine’s Ashandria Henry on Friday moments before a collision between the two in the second game of a doubleheader. Marks injured her hip on the play but did not leave the game. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — Playing at home for the first time in three weeks, the Albany State softball team stretched its winning streak to five with a doubleheader sweep of SIAC foe Paine College on Friday.
Lady Rams starters Alexa Lopez and Chelsea Hicks only allowed three Paine hits in the two games, which both ended after five innings with ASU claiming 12-2 and 11-0 victories.
In the opener, Lopez allowed two hits and struck out five, while the Lady Rams racked up 11 hits of their own at the plate. Hicks led the way with three hits and four RBIs, while Chaconna Marks hit a walk-off, three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth for one of her three hits.
In Game No. 2, Hicks took the mound and Marks stayed behind the plate as the starting catcher — but the rest of ASU’s lineup consisted of backups.
The change in lineups mattered little as ASU outhit Paine, 10-1, and cruised to victory. Dannielle Bryant (2-3, 3 RBI), Taylor Holmes (2-2, 2 RBI) and Toni Coleman (1-2, 2 RBI) led ASU at the plate. Hicks allowed just one hit and struck out four.
“I was really pleased to see them go out there and play a good, defensive game,” ASU coach Robert Skinner said. “They did a great job defensively, and Chelsea pitched a good game.”
ASU, which plays again Tuesday at home against Georgia College & State, improved to 13-13 overall and 11-3 in the SIAC, while Paine College fell to 1-15 overall and 1-11 in the conference.
HIGGERSON PLAYS HERO FOR LADY CAVS: Darton State sophomore Jostlyn Higgerson was unstoppable as the Lady Cavs swept Georgia Military College in a doubleheader Friday at Darton. The sophomore from Enterprise, Ala., hit a pair of home runs in the first game — including a walk-off, two-run blast to center field — to seal a 7-5 victory before taking the mound and throwing three strikeouts to win the second game, 9-2.
Darton was down 3-1 in the sixth inning of the first game when Higgerson, who was playing first base, hit a three-run homer to turn the table in Darton’s favor. GMC answered with a pair of runs in the following inning to tie the game at 5-5. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Higgerson hit a two-run shot to win the game.
Higgerson’s game-winner was Darton’s 38th homer of the season, tying the school record.
Sophomore Savannah Carlisle broke the record in the second game with a three-run homer in the fifth inning. Bree Wells got in on the HR party in the sixth inning with a two-run round-tripper.
Darton also set a school record for stolen bases in a season and now ranks third in the nation with 104.
The Lady Cavs are now 28-10 and will travel to Tifton, Tuesday, to play ABAC in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.
CAVS STAY ON TOP: The Darton golf team fired its best score in three years in Friday’s second round of the Ron Marshall Spring Fling in Scottsboro, Ala., giving the Cavs a six-shot lead heading into today’s final round.
Led by Jake O’Bryan’s 4-under 68, the Cavs shot a 9-under 279 and are now 1-under in the tournament and six shots in front of nationally-ranked No. 4 Faulkner State.
“This is a confidence booster for us,” Darton coach Dale Dover said. “This is what we have been looking for all year.”
Darton sophomore Taylor Martin, whose round was highlighted by two eagles on the front nine, shot a 69 and is in first place individually in the 15-team tournament. Other scores Friday for Darton were Seth Sanders 69, Madison Turner 73 and Tae Kim 75.
— Darton State College Sports Information Director David Mann contributed to this report