Paladins Rally To Sweep Georgia Southern And Claim Best Of Three Series 5-4, 3-2
Statesboro, Ga. – Furman rallied from a 4-1 deficit to top Georgia Southern, 5-4, in game one and completed the doubleheader sweep of the Eagles with a 3-2 victory in game two of Saturday's Southern Conference softball twinbill at Eagle Field.
The sweep improved the Paladins to 17-14 overall and 6-5 in the SoCon while giving Furman its first series win over the Eagles since 2004. Furman's 17 wins matched the program's season win total from 2012. Georgia Southern dropped to 16-20 overall and 5-3 in league play.
Furman plated four runs in the top of the seventh in game one to erase a 4-1 Georgia Southern lead and claim a 5-4 win.
Stephanie Field opened the seventh with a bunt single and scored from first on Taylor Jenkins' double into the left field corner. Hannah Pace reached base and Jenkins sprinted to third when Allie Miles' third strike to the Paladin catcher sailed to the backstop. Pinch runner Alexis Galinski took second on another wild pitch before Stephanie Spain drilled a two-run double into the right-center field gap to tie the game at 4-4.
After Spain moved to third on relief pitcher Brooke Red's wild pitch, senior Emily Boyer lifted a sacrifice fly down the left field line to drive in Spain with the go-ahead run.
Freshman Meaghan Houston came on in relief of starter Shelby Parker in the bottom of the seventh and worked around a leadoff single to record her league-leading fifth save of the season. Parker, who limited the Eagles to just one earned run on six hits in six innings, took the victory to improve to 3-2 in the circle. She struck out three and walked four batters.
A dropped fly ball opened the door for Georgia Southern to get on the scoreboard first with two runs in the second inning and the Eagles added a third on Andrea Tarashuk's sacrifice fly in the third inning. Furman answered in the fourth on Jenkins two-out, RBI double off the center field wall before the Eagles scored another unearned run in the sixth.
Miles (3-5) absorbed the loss for GSU after allowing five runs on seven hits in six-plus innings of work. She struck out seven Paladins without issuing a walk.
Jenkins went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a pair of RBI while Spain went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs batted in.
In the rubber game of the three-game series, Houston held Georgia Southern to just two runs over seven and 2/3 innings in the circle and the Paladins scored twice in the top of the eighth to clinch the series with a 3-2 triumph.
The Paladins jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth as Spain bounced a one-out single up the middle, moved to third on a pair of passed balls and scored on Sieara Bishop's single to center field. Georgia Southern pulled even in the bottom of the sixth as shortstop Kourtny Thomas lined the first pitch of the inning over the left field wall for her eighth homer of the campaign.
In the eighth inning, Bishop worked a one-out walk and moved to second on Natalie Clemmons single to right. Ambree Muller followed with a walk to load the bases forcing the Eagles to bring Sarah Purvis out of the bullpen. The right-hander hit Lauren Collier with a pitch to force in Bishop and plunked Jenkins two batters later to drive in Clemmons.
Georgia Southern cut the lead in half in the bottom of the eight as Tabby Douberley drove in Shelby Morrill with a two-out single to right, but Collier entered the game and got Tarashuk to pop out to Jenkins to end the game.
Houston upped her record in the circle to 6-5 while Collier notched her first save.
Red (4-3) took the loss for Georgia Southern after surrendering two earned runs on five hits in seven and 1/3 innings.
Furman, which has won nine of its last 12 games, steps out of conference play to visit Georgia State for a 3 p.m. doubleheader on Wednesday before returning home to Pepsi Stadium to host Western Carolina in a three-game SoCon set next weekend.
Fans can follow live statistics for both series by logging onto www.FurmanPaladins.com. Live updates are also available on Twitter by following @FurmanPaladins.