CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina softball (17-31, 7-13 Southern Conference) earned a doubleheader split with Georgia Southern (24-24, 10-6 SoCon), dropping the first game,4-0, before bouncing back to win the second game 7-2 on senior day Saturday at the Catamount Softball Complex.
Georgia Southern pitcher Sarah Purvis tossed a four-hit shutout to help the Eagles pick up the win in game one of the doubleheader. It was Purvis' second straight shutout performance as she fanned nine Catamount batters and improved to 11-11 on the season.
The Eagles earned three of their four runs, in the game, off homeruns. Western Carolina starting pitcher Jordan Garrett tossed two scoreless innings before Alexia Lewis hit a lead-off homerun, for Georgia Southern, in the top of the third inning.
Lexi Allen's homerun, over the left field center wall in the fifth inning, earned her two RBI as Lewis got a one-out single prior to her at bat. Georgia Southern would tack on an additional run in the sixth inning.
Western Carolina had a runner on third in two of the seven innings. In the first inning, Amelia Griffin led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Fulton. After Scotton was hit by a pitch she and Griffin moved to second on and third on a wild pitch by Purvis following Taylor Sigmon's fly out to second base. With a runners on second and third the Catamount scoring chance was squelched when Pace struck out.
The Catamounts next scoring chance came in the fifth when Steinhardt singled past the shortstop. Back-to-back strikeouts from Megan Crowe and Karley Harkey had the Catamoutnts down to its final out of the inning. Griffin picked up her second hit of the game when she hit a blooper to right field and Steinhardt motored to third. The scoring chance ended when Fulton ground out to third.
Purvis sat down the Catamounts in order in the next two innings to end the game.
Garrett falls to 10-11 on the season tossing a complete game allowing four runs on six hits and striking out six. Griffin had two of Western Carolina's four hits in the game.
Western Carolina 7, Georgia Southern 2
In a complete opposite of game one, Western Carolina jumped on Georgia Southern in game two scoring early with a run in the first inning. With two outs, Scotton got things started when she singled up the middle. Sigmon followed with a single past the shortstop and Western Carolina found itself with bases loaded when Steinhardt drew a walk. Scotton scored on a passed ball by Georgia Southern catcher AJ Hamilton.
Western Carolina all but put the game out of reach, for Georgia Southern, when the Catamounts exploded for five runs in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Makenzi McAteer reached first on a Georgia Southern error. Eagles starting pitcher Allie Miles then yielded a walk to Harkey to put runners on first and second. Griffin followed with a beauty of a bunt single down the left side and the Catamounts were in business with bases loaded and one out. Fulton singled to the right side to pick up her eighth RBI of the season and score McAteer. Scotton got her second hit of the game, and it was a big one, as she singled to the right side scoring Harkey and Griffin and notching two RBI.
With runners on at the corners, Eagle pitcher Miles was pulled. She was replaced by Brooke Red who got Sigmon to ground out to second base but Fulton scored on the play for the Catamounts' fourth run of the inning. Steinhardt singled past first base and Scotton scored Western Carolina's fifth run of the inning. After Heather Chastain singled to the left side, Western Carolina was posed to score again, with runners at first and second, but Pace lined out to second base to end the inning.
In the third inning, Western Carolina pitcher Mallory Broome got a huge defensive boost after a Catamount error, to open the inning, put an Eagle runner on first. Georgia Southern's Lewis hit a grounder to Catamount freshman shortstop Harkey who scooped the ball up, stepped on the bag at second and threw out Lewis at first to turn the double play. Broome struck out Allen to end the inning.
Georgia Southern did have something to say in the run department in the fourth inning. Kourtny Thomas hit a lead-off homerun to left field to put the Eagles on the board. Broome looked to be getting in a bit of a jam when Shelby Morrill followed with a triple to right field. The Catamounts second consecutive double play erased Morrill, in a play at the plate, when Tabby Douberlay flew out to center field and Fulton threw a strike from the outfield to catcher Chastain, at home, tagging Morrill out.
Western Carolina added one more run in the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Harkey led off with a single and stole second, the second stolen base of her career, and moved to third on a passed ball. Griffin reached on an error, stole second, and Western Carolina had runners at second and third with no outs. Harkey attempted to score when Fulton hit a grounder but was called out at home and Griffin moved to third. Griffin would score on a wild pitch by Red.
Georgia Southern earned its second run of the game in the top of the seventh. A lead-off single by Kaitlyn Johnson and a walk by Hamilton had runners at first and second for the Eagles. After pinch hitter Savanha Coon ground out, advancing the runners to second and third, pinch runner Dominque Grossman scored on a ground out RBI by Lewis.
Broome put an exclamation point on her stellar pitching performance by striking out Allen to end the game. She improved to 5-8 on the season allowing two runs on six hits and struck out six. Miles took the loss for Georgia Southern falling to 6-6 on the season.
Griffin and Scotton each had a pair of hits in the game Scotton also had two RBI and scored two runs.
Western Carolina will look to earn its third Southern Conference series on Sunday in the rubber match with Georgia Southern. The single game is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at the Catamount Softball Complex.