by: Devin Smith
Photo by: Joshua Thurston
It was a roller-coaster weekend in Georgia for the Troy women’s softball team, culminating with a wild eight-inning prizefight against Georgia State on Sunday evening.
The first game of the weekend against the North Carolina State Wolfpack, a lopsided 1-9 loss, was one to forget for the Trojans. Coach Melanie Davis attributed the loss more to the play of the Wolfpack rather than a lack of it by Troy.
“I was really disappointed with our overall performance against North Carolina State,” said Davis. “But I really think all-in-all, North Carolina State was really seeing the ball like a watermelon, and it was just one of those games where we couldn’t do anything to stop them.”
Rachel Rigney took the loss while allowing six runs in 1.1 innings, four of which were home runs by three different players. Chandler Griffin accounted for the only Trojan score due to an error by N.C. state in the top of the sixth.
Sunday faired much better for the Trojans, beginning with a 6-3 victory over the Akron Zips.
Troy quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind a two-RBI double by first baseman Caitlin Ortiz in the top of the first. The Zips cut the Trojan’s lead to one in the second inning, but a pair of home runs by Amanda Winters and Hannah Renn gave the Trojans enough breathing room to escape with the win.
Edging the Zips wasn’t enough for Coach Davis, who felt as though the team had still not played well to that point. So she had a conversation with the girls prior to the night game against Georgia State, and they needed every bit of the motivation to get the emotional comeback victory.
“I didn’t think we really played well against Akron,” said Davis. “But we were able to win. I challenged the girls after that game because they just did not get better during that performance, and I challenged them to play a complete game against Georgia State.”
Troy struck first with Hannah Renn’s second home run in as many games to take a 1-0 lead, then a score from each team brought the score to 2-1 in favor of Troy.
A quiet defense battle ensued until the bottom of the fifth inning when Chandler Griffin, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, belted a long solo shot over the center field wall to increase the Trojan’s lead to 3-1.
The Panthers took the lead twice during the game, first in the top of the seventh when they scored four runs off four hits. But in the bottom of the seventh Amanda Winters sent a double to the center field wall that knotted the game up at 5-5 in regulation.
A bases loaded walk and squeeze bunt from Georgia State gave them their second lead of the game at 7-5, but it would also be the last lead for the Panthers.
Troy loaded the bases due to walks of Taylor Smartt and Keelie Housley, and Madison Rich who was inserted at second base as part of the international tiebreaker that places the last batter from the previous inning on second base.
A sacrifice fly to the warning track by Kacie McAllister home Smartt and advanced the other runners with two outs, then an error on a cut off throw from midfield by NC State sealed the walk-off win for the Trojans.
Troy will travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to make up the rain delay game from earlier in the season against Florida State tonight at 5 p.m., and then will begin the Renegade Classic on Friday against Appalachian State beginning at 9 a.m.