Columbus State Ends Season in Southeast Regional
Dahlonega – Columbus State scored a run in the bottom of the first inning before Augusta State pushed across five unanswered runs as the Jaguars defeated CSU 5-1 Saturday evening in the NCAA Southeast Dahlonega Regional. The regional is being hosted by North Georgia with all the games being played at Haines & Caroyln Hill Stadium in Dahlonega, Georgia.
The loss eliminates the Lady Cougars from the NCAA Tournament as they end their season with a 40-20 record.
Playing as the home team for the first time during the regionals, CSU starter Mollie Russell set down Augusta State in order in the top half of the first before the Lady Cougars struck for a first inning run. After two were down, Casey Googe singled to left-centerfield and streaked for third on a Kara Gordon single that went right past the third base bag into leftfield.
On the fourth ball to Morgan Staffins, the ball popped out of ASU catcher Renae Kimbell's glove allowing Googe to score. CSU was unable to do any more damage as Kori Waugh flied out to end the inning.
It didn't take long for Augusta State to respond as the Jaguars platted two in the second thanks to shaky CSU defense. Jessica Thornton led the inning off with a chopper that bounced over Staffins' head into rightfield. The next batter Lauren Yeargan laid down a sacrifice bunt that Staffins fielded but her throw went down the rightfield line allowing Thorton to take third and Yeargan to advance to second.
After a strikeout, Augusta State attempted a suicide squeeze but Hannah Vaughn whiffed on the bunt attempt leaving Thornton in a run down between third base and home. Googe threw the ball down to third but Gordon, who was covering the bag, couldn't handle the throw as it trickled into leftfield allowing Thornton to score the first run of the game for ASU. As Yeargan moved up to third base, she bumped into Gordon causing interference to be called against the Lady Cougars. With the call, Yeargan was awarded home.
Augusta State (33-17) started a two-out rally against Russell in the third as Molly Walton singled on a 2-2 pitch through the left side of the infield just out of reach of a diving Gordon at short. Next up was Kristen Jones who laced a run scoring triple to deep rightfield before Thornton knocked her teammate in with a single to centerfield.
The Jaguars added their final run of the game in the sixth inning again with two outs. Kimbell started the rally with a single up the middle off of CSU reliever Taylor Turner. On the first pitch to Laura Brown, the leftfielder found the left-centerfield gap scoring Kimbell with the RBI double.
Columbus State had an opportunity to push across runs in the fifth inning and cut into the deficit. Morgan Knight drew a one-out walk before Googe reached base on a fielder's choice. Gordon would then hit a single to rightfield advancing Googe to third while Gordon moved to second on the throw to third base. With two-outs and two-on, Emily Headrick induced a soft pop fly to get out of the jam.
Headrick improved to 18-6 on the season in the complete game effort for Augusta State. She allowed just one unearned run on four hits while issuing five walks.
Jessica Thornton was 2-for-3 with a RBI for the Jaguars while Kristen Jones had a RBI triple.
Mollie Russell (21-12) battled through the whole Southeast Regional with a fracture in her right foot. In the regional, she tossed 17.2 innings allowing just three earned runs. She struck out nine batters to just two walks.
Against Augusta State today, Russell allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits. Taylor Turner pitched the final three innings for CSU allowing one run.
Kara Gordon paced the Columbus State offensive attack going 2-for-3 while Casey Googe and Kori Waugh each picked up a hit.