Following the narrow defeat against No. 1 University of Tennessee last weekend, the Georgia Southern University softball team (7-3) was able to hand the University of Wisconsin (3-1) its first loss.
Coming into the Florida International University Invitational the University of Wisconsin was ranked No. 30 in the NCAA and was receiving votes from USA Today to be ranked in the top 25. Senior pitcher Sarah Purvis and the Eagles were the first game on the schedule for the Badgers on Friday.
GSU freshman infielder Taylor Rogers was first to bat and got on base with a bunt. Rogers decided one base wasn’t enough and stole second. Freshman Emily Snider sacrificed a bunt to third base and Rogers made her way to third. After the Badgers walked senior Shelby Morrill, senior Kourtney Thomas singled and picked up an RBI as Rogers crossed home plate. A double play ended the half inning, 1-0.
The Badgers were up to bat and managed a single off their first batter. The second batter smacked a single to right field putting runners on first and second. Following a fielder’s choice, the Badgers singled and loaded up the bases. With only one out Purvis stayed cool and composed, striking out the next two batters to end the inning and keep the Eagles in the lead.
Each team began struggling at the plate for the second and third inning. Entering the fourth inning the Eagles needed to strengthen their lead. After a single, an error put junior Kaitlyn Johnson on second. Sophomore A.J. Hamilton singled to the pitcher and senior Nicole Benton stepped in to run for her.
Benton took off and stole second, putting two Eagles in scoring position. A passed ball from Wisconsin advanced Benton to third and allowed Johnson to score.
Sophomore Dominique Grossman, playing in front of her hometown crowd of Miami, was walked. Grossman took off to steal second, but was able to advance to third on an error from the catcher, with Benton scoring. Rogers stepped up, hit a single RBI, and reached base on an error from third base. GSU ended their half inning up 4-0.
The Badgers were unable to overcome the pitching and fielding of the Eagles. As Purvis struck out the final batter, GSU captured its first win of the tournament and again proved why they will go far this season.
Rogers finished the game with two hits and an RBI on her four at-bats. Purvis struck out eight batters and picked up her second win on the year.
Head coach Annie Smith was excited with how the Eagles handled the Badgers.
“I thought we played well today and had some very good trips to the plate. I’m happy that we did a good job manufacturing runs today,” Smith said.
FIU Tournament Recap
Following the Wisconsin victory the Eagles suffered a loss against Florida International University 0-8 in a run-rule victory. Junior pitcher Brooke Red was given the loss, splitting time evenly on the mound with junior Marla Thompson.
On Saturday, Florida Gulf Coast University was unable to wake up early and perform, falling to GSU 2-6. They got another chance later in the afternoon in the first elimination game but were trounced 9-1.
The championship game of the tournament put the Eagles against FIU. Despite a three-hit performance from Johnson the Panthers edged passed GSU to win their tournament 2-0.
GSU will have to be ready to turn it on again next weekend in the Florida Tournament. The Eagles will have a chance to stun the University of Florida who moved up to the No. 1 rank in the country after the Eagles rattled Tennessee. The first match of the tournament will be against Coastal Carolina University on Friday at 9 a.m. in Gainesville, Fla.