Staffins Powers Lady Cougars Past Flagler
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL– Morgan Staffins belted two game winning homeruns to lead the Columbus State softball team as it completed the sweep of Flagler College in thrilling fashion this evening at Saints Field, winning game one 4-3 in ten innings and capturing a 5-3 victory in the nightcap.
With the sweep of Flagler, CSU improves to 20-6 on the season and 5-1 in Peach Belt play. FC drops to 22-6 on the year and 1-3 in league play.
After a scoreless first frame for both teams, Kristi Bullard put CSU up in the top half of the second as she launched her fourth homerun of the season over the fence in right center, giving the Lady Cougars an early 1-0 lead.
Columbus State would add another run the following inning. Morgan Staffins got things going with a double in the gap in right center. Staffins would then advance 60 feet on a passed ball. Keeley Kennedy would then reach on a bunt single, plating Staffins to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
Bullard kept the Lady Saints in check throughout the first five innings of play, allowing just one hit, a Robyn Draper single in the home half of the fourth.
The Lady Cougars would tack on another insurance run in the fifth. Branigan Wix reached on a fielding error by the third baseman followed by another Kennedy single, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Kori Waugh walked to load the bases before a wild pitch from Flagler starter Donna Munafo brought home Wix, making it 3-0 after five innings.
Flagler would make things interesting the bottom part of the sixth as the Lady Saints finally got some offense going, scoring three runs on two hits in the inning to tie the game at 3 all.
Neither team would be able to push a run across in the final inning, sending the game into extra innings, the second time in the past three games for CSU.
Columbus State would load the bases in the 8th with no outs but would come away empty handed once again.
Needing a big hit, Morgan Staffins delivered in top of the 10th as she deposited her third homerun of the season over the fence in left, giving CSU a 4-3 lead.
Bullard would close the door in the bottom half of the inning, retiring the Lady Saints in order to capture the thrilling 4-3 victory in game one.
Senior Kristi Bullard (8-3) was spectacular in the circle for the Lady Cougars, tossing 8.1 innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits in the game. Bullard also registered eight strikeouts. Donna Munafo went the distance for FC, with 10.0 innings of work, allowing nine hits and two earned runs, dropping her record to 4-2 on the year.
Kennedy, Bullard, Gordon, and Staffins all registered two hits in the game to lead the nine hit CSU attack. Staffins was 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a solo homerun.
Looking to avoid the sweep, the Lady Saints jumped right on Columbus State in game two, plating three runs in the bottom of the first, with the big blow coming on a two RBI single to left by Breezy Collins.
CSU would answer right back the following inning. Kori Waugh drew a leadoff walk and Morgan Staffins reached on an error to give the Lady Cougars two runners on with no outs.
The Lady Cougars would use a little small ball once again in the top half of the fifth. Courtney Darr walked and moved up 60 feet following a bunt from Kelsey Gilliam. Darr would then advance to third on a groundout from Branigan Wix. This time it was freshman Nina Rubio who delivered the big two-out hit, scoring Darr to tie the game at 3.
CSU would finally put the Lady Saints away in the sixth. Casey Googe doubled to left center to start things before Staffins connected once again, launching her fourth homerun of the season deep into the night in left center to make it 5-3.
That would be all that game two starter Kelsey Gilliam would need the rest of the way as she retired the side in order in the seventh, securing the 5-3 victory for Columbus State.
Gilliam (5-2) went the distance for Columbus State scattering seven hits in seven innings of work, allowing three runs (two earned) while also fanning three.
Morgan Staffins and Rocky Hemmer both drove in two runs to lead the Lady Cougars in the nightcap. Nina Rubio also registered an RBI single.
Columbus State will have a day off before returning to the diamond on Saturday against Lynn in a non-conference doubleheader at Cougar Field. First pitch is set for 11:00 am.