DAHLONEGA, GA – A pair of two-run home runs and a pair of suicide squeezes lifted the seventh-seeded Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes past #2 Columbus State 7-4 in the quarterfinals of the PBC Tournament on Friday. With the win, the Hurricanes (28-25) advance to the tournament semifinals for the first time in program history and win their first PBC Tournament game since 2009. GSW will face the Young Harris/Francis Marion winner on Saturday morning at 11:00 am.
Columbus State sees their season come to a close with a 35-16 overall mark.
GSW got the scoring going in the third inning using the long ball. With a runner on, Kayla Kerr blasted her sixth home run of the year over the left-field fence for a 2-0 lead. After a walk to Hayley Teirce, Sara Beth King came to plate and launched her eight of the season to straightaway center field.
That was the end of the day for CSU starter Darby Demarest (L, 18-6), who finished with 2.2 innings of work, five strikeouts and four walks. Demarest only allowed three base hits, but with two of those going over the fence the change was made and Hannah Rose Corbin took over duties for the rest of the game.
CSU answered with runs in the third and fourth innings, both the result of GSW errors. Corbin hit a chopper back to GSW starter Shannon Gibson for what would have been the third out of the inning, but Gibson's throw to first went awry allowing Maddie Dodson to score from second.
In the fourth, a single by CSU's Elizabeth Perdue got under the glove of GSW right-fielder Paris Poston, allowing Perdue to reach third. She later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kirstin Reynolds.
The score remained 4-2 until the top of the sixth when GSW executed two perfect suicide squeezes that generated three runs. With runners at first and third and nobody out, Mackenzy McFarland laid down a bunt that stopped dead six feet in front of home plate. Aimee Oglesby was breaking from third on the pitch and beat the throw by sliding her hand on home plate between the catcher's legs.
Two batters later with runners at second and third, Gibson laid down another perfect bunt. In an effort to make a play at home, Reynolds tried to scoop the ball with her glove, but ended up sending it to the backstop, allowing Briana Bryson to score from second.
Columbus State rallied again in the bottom of the sixth. The Cougars opened with singles from Elyse Ambrose and Perdue, followed by a two-run double to left from Reynolds. Gibson's day was done as Jennifer Jernigan came into pitch and got three straight outs to end the threat. Gibson (W, 11-8) finished with two earned runs allowed on four hits, three strikeouts and two walks.
Jernigan (S, 2) issued two one-out walks to put the tying run at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, but a strikeout and fly out ended the game.
No Hurricane finished with more than one hit as Kerr and King finished the game with two RBIs each with McFarland getting another. Perdue led CSU with a 2-for-4 outing while Reynolds had three RBIs.