Columbus State Loses Slugfest to West Alabama 12-11
COLUMBUS – The Columbus State softball team suffered its first loss of the season Saturday afternoon, falling 12-11 to West Alabama. The loss drops CSU to 4-1 on the year while UWA improves to 2-0 on the season.
CSU has scored in the first inning of every game so far this year and Saturday proved no different as Casey Googe lined a double down the left field line, plating Kara Gordon to give the Lady Cougars an early 1-0 lead.
Columbus State continued to add to the lead in the top of the second inning. Senior Rocky Hemmer led things off with a double, followed by a Morgan Staffins walk, giving CSU runners at first and second with no outs. Following a Kristen Gregory sacrifice bunt, Nina Rubio slapped a single to score both Hemmer and Staffins, advancing to second on an errant throw by the SS.
After a groundout moved Rubio to third base, Keeley Kennedy slapped a soft single in front of UWA pitcher Kristin Skinner, scoring Rubio to give CSU a 4-0 lead.
The Lady Tigers would answer back in the bottom of the inning, plating two runs on two hits, cutting the lead to 4-2.
UWA would strike again in the next inning, with the big blow coming on a Valisha Fincher opposite field homerun. The Lady Tigers would score four runs on five hits in the frame taking the lead 6-4 after three innings of play.
The Lady Cougars would answer right back in the top of the fourth, plating three runs, all coming with two outs. Rubio got things going as she reached after being hit by a pitch. Morgan Knight walked, followed by another single from Kennedy to load the bases with two outs. This time it was Kara Gordon who delivered the big blow, lacing a line drive double into the right-centerfield gap, scoring all three runners and putting Columbus State back up on top 7-6.
CSU would tack on two more runs in the fifth and six innings to take a 9-6 after five and a half innings of action. Kristi Bullard launched a leadoff homerun in the fifth inning to right-centerfield, giving CSU an 8-6 lead and the Lady Cougars added another insurance run in the sixth inning off a wild pitch that plated Rubio.
Following a Caitlyn Bonham strikeout to start the home half of the sixth, UWA got things going with a pair of singles by Angela Smith and Anna Shartzer. Fincher would then strike again, this time poking a single up the middle to score Smith. Ashley Frost followed that up with another single to load the bases, bringing up Kelli Hartley, prompting a pitching change as Columbus State brought in Kristi Bullard.
Kelli Hartley would walk to score a run before Jessica Powell crushed a double to left center, clearing the bases. When it was all said and done the Lady Tigers scored five runs on five hits in the inning to storm back in front 11-9.
Down to its last three outs, CSU would fight back once again, adding two more runs to tie the game back up at 11-11 in the top of the seventh. Hemmer drew a leadoff walk and moved up to second base after Kristen Gregory had a one-out single to leftfield. Pinch-hitter Kori Waugh singled up the middle loading the bases. After a popout, Kennedy delivered again plating Hemmer and Gregory. The throw got away from the catcher and Rubio looked to get underneath the tag, but was called out for the final out of the inning.
CSU would retire the first two batters in the home half of the seventh before Shartzer lined a two-out double to right center. Taylor Beck followed with a single to right, scoring Shartzer as the throw short hopped over the glove of catcher Casey Googe, giving West Alabama the 12-11 victory.
Kennedy led the way for Columbus State with a 3-for-4 performance with three runs batted in. Gordon was 1-for-3 on the day with a big two-out double, driving in three runs. Rubio reached all three times up to the plate going 1-for-1 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. She also scored three runs. Bullard launched her second homerun of the season.
CSU starter Kelsey Gilliam went three innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits and one walk. Courtney Darr tossed 2.2 innings in relief four earned runs on five hits and a pair of free passes. Kristi Bullard suffered the tough loss dropping her record to 2-1 on the season as she worked an inning on the mound surrendering two runs.
Columbus State is back in action later this afternoon when they take on Lynn University. The Lady Cougars defeated LU last night 9-1 in five innings.