Staffins Walk-off Propels Columbus State to 1-0 Victory
Columbus – Morgan Staffins hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead Columbus State to a crucial 1-0 victory over Francis Marion Sunday afternoon in a Peach Belt Conference matchup at Cougar Field in Columbus, Georgia.
The win improves the Lady Cougars record to 33-18 on the year and 8-9 in PBC play while FMU falls to 31-14 this season and 8-7 in league action.
After a fly out to centerfield led off the seventh, Staffins drove a 1-0 pitch over the left-centerfield wall to give CSU the win. It was her seventh long ball of the season.
Currently in the NCAA Southeast Region rankings, the Lady Patriots are ranked eighth while Columbus State is right behind them in ninth place. The top eight teams in the region will advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Scoring opportunities were at a premium in the ballgame with CSU having the first crack at getting on the board. In the first inning, Nina Rubio doubled to get things going for the Lady Cougars and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Morgan Knight. Unfortunately for the hosts, two straight fly outs ended the threat.
Francis Marion had their best chance in the sixth which started off with a walk and an infield bunt single that put runners on first and second with no outs. After failing to get her first two bunt attempts down, Olivia Ferguson reached on a fielder's choice with a force out at third base. A groundout moved both runners into scoring position before Tristan Faile struck out swinging to end the inning.
Mollie Russell picked up her 16th win of the season as she fired her 13th shutout of the season, which currently leads the nation. The junior allowed just two hits, allowed three free passes while striking out four. Rubio, Staffins and Wix each had a hit in the contest as CSU managed just three the entire game. It is the second least amount of hits they have collected in a victory this season.
Taylor Luff suffered the loss dropping to 9-4 on the year as she gave up the lone run on Staffins homerun. Sara Broderick and Lindsey Brown had the Patriots only two hits.