Softball tops Georgia State, loses to UAB

(PHOTO/ Holly Ammons)
(PHOTO/ Holly Ammons)
Both Georgia State games that Claire Graves pitched in for the Trojans resulted in victories for her team. Despite striking out only one batter in 9.1 innings pitched, Graves allowed only five runs while in the circle against the Panthers.
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Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

The Troy softball team won its conference home opener series two games to one against Georgia State last weekend.

The Trojans split Saturday’s doubleheader with the Panthers before capturing the series with a 9-7 win on Sunday at the Troy Softball Complex.

In game one, Troy used a three-run fourth inning to grab a 4-3 win. The Trojans quickly fell behind in the contest, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk in the top of the first.

Troy got on the board an inning later after a pair of singles from junior Erica Davis and freshman Katie Webb set up a bunt for senior Jordan Gray. On the bunt, the pitcher’s throw to third missed its target and allowed Davis to score.

Two innings later, in the bottom half of the fourth, Troy tied the game at two with a lead-off homerun from Gray. Four batters later, senior Becca Hartley slammed a two-run homer to put the Trojans in front 4-2.

The Panthers put together a rally in the sixth and plated a run before grounding into a double-play to end the inning. In the seventh, Georgia State put a pair of runners on the base-paths but could not bat them in.

Pitcher Claire Graves pitched a complete game and improved her record to 7-2. It was her sixth complete game of the season after having five such games in her freshman year.

In the nightcap, Georgia State snuck past the Trojans with a 6-5 win to tie the series. The Panthers once again scored a run in the first, but was answered immediately by Troy’s two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Georgia State retook the lead with a four-run third inning. Three of those runs came on Kensey Caldwell’s team-leading fourth homerun.

Down 5-2 in the fifth, Hartley hit a two-run homerun to bring Troy within one. Two batters later, sophomore Stephanie Snyder tied the game with a solo shot of her own.

Georgia State got back in front in the seventh with an RBI single after putting runners on the corners. In the bottom of the inning, Troy put two runners in scoring position with one out before a strikeout and groundout ended the game.

The rubber-match ended walk-off style for Troy on Sunday as the Trojans garnered its third conference win of the year.

Troy jumped out of the gate with a four run first inning that was led off by a Hartley homerun. Hartley, who has 10 homeruns this season, homered in three consecutive games for the first time this year and now has at least one hit in 25 out of 30 games.

After Hartley’s bomb, Snyder sent a three-run shot over the wall to give Troy a 4-0 lead. In the second inning, Georgia State brought in two runs while Troy added another run in the bottom half.

The Panthers scored two more in the third, but were answered again by Troy when a throwing error enabled Snyder and Webb to score and give the Trojans a 7-4 advantage.

After scoring a run in the fourth, Georgia State tied the game in the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly and RBI single. Each team went scoreless in the sixth and seventh, and the game went into extra innings.

Each team went three-up three-down in the eighth before Georgia State threatened with two baserunners in the ninth.

After neutralizing the Panthers scoring threat, sophomore Madeline Porter hit a one-out double to give Troy a baserunner. Snyder then stepped up to the plate and smashed the first pitch she saw over the fence for her third home run and second walk-off of the season.

On Tuesday night, Troy looked as if it might be able to start a win streak, but a strong seventh inning from UAB kept the hosting Trojans out of the win column.

Webb put Troy on the board first, batting in Hartley in the bottom of the first. Booke Echols added to the total with an RBI single of her own, giving Troy a 2-0 lead.

The Blazers took over in the seventh inning, however, putting up a quick three runs to take a lead in the top of the inning. Natalie Erwin batted in two runners before Destini England brought in the game-winning run with a single up the right side.

Rachel Rigney-Brown took the loss for the Trojans in the circle, striking out two batters but allowing eight runs.

Troy will go back on the road this weekend with a trip to Coastal Carolina before a mid-week game in Mobile to face South Alabama.