Young team struggles in Eagle Classic

Robert George

The Georgia Southern Eagles softball team hosted the Eagle Classic this past weekend. The Eagles struggled, going 1-4 against Boston College, Campbell, Tennessee Tech and Binghamton.

GS vs. Binghamton (W 21-12)

The Eagles started off right, winning their home opener against Binghamton 21-12. The Eagles offense came out on fire as sophomore Emily Snider blasted a two-run home run in the top of the first to take an early 2-0 lead.

Every Eagle who came to the plate got at least one hit in the game. Senior pitcher Brooke Red started the game and went four innings while allowing six earned runs on seven hits. Newcomer Kierra Camp relieved her and pitched the final three innings to pick up the long save.

GS vs. Campbell (L 6-7)

The Eagles had to battle better pitching and frigid weather in the second game that didn’t start until about 9 p.m. As the temperature outside cooled down, so did the Eagles’ bats. They could only muster two hits in the first five innings, and fell behind 4-1 entering the sixth inning. The Eagles finally heated up in the bottom of the sixth, when they scored three runs to tie the game.

Campbell would take the lead in the top of the seventh on an Eagle error, but sophomore Morgan Robinson tied the game back up in the bottom of the inning. She hit a solo home run that sent the game into extra innings. But, the excitement was short lived, as Campbell hit a two-run home run in the top of ninth that proved to be the game winner.

Another newcomer this season, Heather Felt, pitched a complete game and gave up seven runs, four of which were earned, on 10 hits and two walks.

GS vs. Boston College (L 3-6)

The Eagles returned to action Saturday afternoon against Boston College and lost 6-3. The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the first inning but couldn’t keep the momentum going and surrendered six unanswered runs.

Junior catcher A.J. Hamilton hit a solo home run in the sixth and freshman Alesha Mann added another in the seventh. That was all the offense the Eagles got in the final two innings, and the Eagles fell 6-3.

GS vs. Tennessee Tech University (L 2-4)

Georgia Southern lost another game in extra innings in the nightcap of Saturday’s action. The Eagles trailed 2-1 entering the bottom half of the seventh inning, but senior Lexi Allen smacked a triple and later scored on a Taylor Rodgers’ infield single that tied the game at 2-2.

Olivia Bennett gave TTU the lead on a two-run homerun in the top of the eight that proved to be the game winner.

Freshman Camp made another appearance and gave up a run in the first, but she settled down after that and pitched four straight shutout innings. TTU pitcher Danielle Liberatore was masterful all night, striking out 10 Eagle hitters on her way to a four-hit complete game.

GS vs. TTU (L 4-5)

The Eagles wrapped up play in the Eagle Classic against TTU, losing another close game 5-4. TTU jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but freshman Rowan McGuire responded with her first home run of the year, a two-run blast that tied the game.

TTU broke a 3-3 tie in the fourth by scoring two runs on a couple of singles and an Eagle error. The Eagles would get one more run across to make the final score 5-4.

Head Coach Annie Smith was disappointed in the results, but knows that her young team will get better.

“I always tell the team that as long as we’ve got a shot in every ballgame, we’re going to be ok. We kept fighting today and we had a chance to get the win down the stretch today,” Smith said.

Six underclassmen got significant playing time this weekend, which is something Coach Smith knows will help prepare them for conference play.

“It’s invaluable. It will make them so much better and make our team so much better as we get down the road, ” Smith said. “We’ve got such a young team, I see us continuing to get better, and I see us continuing to battle.”

The Eagles will travel to Raleigh, N.C. to play in the NC State Hyatt Place Challenge this coming weekend.