Eagles sweep the Mountaineers

Robert George

Both Georgia Southern and Appalachian State softball came into this past weekend ranked at the bottom of the Sun Belt. Both have struggled in their move to the new conference. But, the Eagles put in a strong performance and came away with their first sweep in conference play.

The GS softball team played some of its best ball games of the year, and swept the Appalachian State Mountaineers in its first matchup with App in the Sun Belt.

Game 1 (W 6-5)

The Eagles jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but errors allowed the Mountaineers to tie the game. The teams matched each other’s scoring for the rest of the game, and the score was tied 3-3 entering the final inning.

Sophomore Morgan Robinson led off the seventh with a single, followed by a two-run bomb from junior AJ Hamilton that gave the Eagles a 5-3 lead. But, the Mountaineers tied the game up again in the bottom of the inning with a two-run blast of their own.

In the eighth, sophomore Taylor Rodgers led off with a single, and then senior Kaitlyn Johnson stroked a double off the fence to score Rodgers. Freshman Heather Felt worked a three-up, three-down final inning to seal the win.

“It was big for us to get these two wins today,” head coach Annie Smith said in a press release.

Felt allowed just five hits and five runs, only two of which were earned. She struck out four batters and picked up her first win in the Sun Belt.

“We battled back in the first game and got past some errors in the field,” Coach Smith said. “We got some key hits up and down the lineup and Heather (Felt) pitched a great game.”

Game 2 (W 17-3)

The Eagles offense continued to swing a hot bat in the second game, as the team racked up 17 runs in the shortened five-inning game.

The Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, and added four more in the second. They were held scoreless in the third, but came back and scored another five runs in the fourth.

The Mountaineers finally broke through in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs. That was all they had, and the Eagles added seven more runs in the final two innings of the shortened game.

“We came out in the second game and did a great job at the plate,” Coach Smith said. “We talk a lot about winning every inning, and we did that.”

Game 3 (W 11-6)

Lexi Allen had a big day at the plate, going 3-3 with two home runs, three runs scored and six RBIs. She hit her fourth and fifth homers of the season to lead the Eagles hot offense. Her second home run of the game was a grand slam that gave the Eagles the win.

Freshman Kierra Camp and Felt combined to give up just five hits and six earned runs. Camp picked up the win, her fifth of the season.

“We did a great job to battle back after giving up some runs early,” head coach Annie Smith said in a press release. “Lexi Allen had a great day at the plate and Kierra Camp did a great job to settle us down in the circle.”

Everything clicked this weekend for the Eagles. The offense was on fire, the pitching was solid and the defense did enough to keep the lead when the Eagles got it. It was a complete performance, one that Coach Smith has been looking for all year.

“I’m really happy for the team, they’ve been working really hard and it is good to see them rewarded with a win,” Coach Smith said.

The Eagles will have a quick turnaround as they prepare to travel to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Dolphins in a doubleheader on Wednesday.

The Dolphins are 21-19 on the season, including a 4-5 record in the Athletic Sun Conference. They are led by junior Victoria Brown, who happens to be their best hitter and best pitcher, something relatively uncommon at the college level. She is hitting .367 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs. On the mound, she sports a 14-12 record to go along with a 2.65 ERA and 95 strikeouts on the season.

The Eagles will look to build on their win streak and use the momentum from this past weekend to carry them through the week.

First pitch on Wednesday is at 5 p.m., and can be seen on ESPN3.