Lander Sweeps CSU to Earn PBC Tournament Berth
GREENWOOD – (Story Courtesy Bob Stoner - Lander University) Hayley Leissner hurled a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts in the first game and Rachelle Adkins belted an 11th-inning, game-winning, two-run homer in the second to lead the Lander softball team to a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader sweep against Columbus State and a berth in this weekend's PBC Tournament. Lander won the first game, 7-4, and claimed the nightcap, 5-3.
Lander, which plays a PBC doubleheader at No. 1-ranked North Georgia on Wednesday, improves to 22-20 overall and 8-10 in the PBC. Columbus State ends the season 21-28-1, 5-15. Entering the game, Lander needed to win one of the games to earn the final berth into the tournament and CSU had to sweep the doubleheader.
In the first game, Leissner improved to 15-4 with the complete game win.
Columbus State's Britni McCall (7-9) took the loss, striking out eight, walking one and allowing four earned runs on five hits in five innings pitched.
CSU took a 1-0 lead in the third when Kristi Bullard doubled to centerfield, then scored on a Lander throwing error.
Lander rallied in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-1 lead. Natalie Smith's RBI double to left field plated Blair Hammonds, then Smith scored on Brittney Sheriff's RBI single. Marilyn Newman singled in Sheriff then advanced home on a throwing error.
Lander stretched the lead to 5-1 in the fifth when Newman walked, stole second and scored on a CSU fielding error.
Brittany Leverett's two-run homer cut the Lander lead to 5-3 in the sixth. The clout was her 17th of the season and adds to her single-season school record.
With one out and bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Smith and Sheriff's RBI singles plated Haley Foster and Hammonds to make it 7-3.
For Lander, Smith and Sheriff both went 2-for-4.
In the second game, Leissner (16-4) collected her second win of the evening by striking out seven, walking one and allowing two runs (none earned) on five hits in seven innings of relief. Shelbey Spencer tossed the first four innings and struck out six and allowed one run (none earned) on three hits in four innings of work.
Sheriff doubled, advanced to third on a fielder's choice, then gave Lander a 1-0 lead in the first inning when she advanced home on a failed attempt to throw Newman out stealing second.
With one out and bases loaded in the third inning, Adkins' two-RBI single plated Newman and Daisy Stewart to give the Bearcats a 3-0 advantage.
The Cougars trimmed the Lander lead to 3-1 in the fourth when Carrie Jones scored from third on a fielding error, then CSU tied the game in the fifth when Christie Thompson's RBI triple scored Leverett, and Jones' RBI single plated Thompson.
After five scoreless innings, Adkins stroked her game-winning home run.
CSU's Bullard (7-12) took the loss as she struck out 13, walked one and allowed two earned runs on seven hits in 7.2 innings pitched.
For Lander, Adkins batted 4-for-6, Corbitt 3-for-6 and Sheriff 3-for-5.
For CSU, Thompson, Jones and Bullard all went 2-for-5.