|Final - Game 1||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Point (Ga.)||Pitching||Bryan College|
|Point (Ga.)||Indv. Stats||Bryan College|
|#18 Striblin, Lacy||Doubles||2 Players (#1,#2)|
|None||Home Runs||#2 Gore, Olivia|
|Final - Game 2||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Point (Ga.)||Pitching||Bryan College|
|Point (Ga.)||Indv. Stats||Bryan College|
|#22 Anderson, Amber||Doubles||#4 O'Shields, Hannah|
Dayton, Tenn. – Looking to remain undefeated in Appalachian Athletic Conference Play, the Bryan College Lions Softball Team had already prevailed 4-1 in game one of Thursday's home doubleheader against the Skyhawks of Point University (Ga.), but the clean slate came down to the bottom of the seventh inning in the second game. Trailing 4-3, Bryan starting pitcher, freshman Courtney Petty (FR/Lebanon, Tenn.), kept the game to a one-run deficit after allowing only hit and striking out a Skyhawk looking to complete a full game in the circle. In their last at-bat, the Lions began with a strikeout, but the home team wasn't fazed as the triple play completed by Bryan in the top of the sixth was still fresh on their mind. Olivia Gore (SR/Cookeville, Tenn.) helped the Lions build momentum by ripping a single to left to put the tying run on base. Shelby Ralston (FR/Dalton, Ga.) entered as a pinch runner to relieve Gore of base running duties. The count grew to 3-2, but Becca Zimmerman (SR/Naples, Fla.) remained poised and her patience paid off when she was walked to put the winning run on. The speedy Leslie Beecham (FR/Knoxville, Tenn.) took over at first as a pinch runner. The pressure was applied to Hannah O'Shields (SO/LaFayette, Ga.) when she fouled the first pitch tossed her way, let a ball pass, and then fouled two more. After watching one more ball thrown by Point, O'Shields came around and connected for an RBI double to left-center, plating Ralston to level the score 4-4 and advancing Beecham for the game-winning run at third base. Bryan batters were relentless at the plate, not allowing Point to capitalize on their pitching and making contact on any ball in the zone. Aubrie Osborne (FR/Chatsworth, Ga.) watched a strike pass, but then fouled three and had three called balls as she faced a full count. On the next pitch, she reached out in front and made contact, sending the ball to shortstop. The Skyhawk player had a clean play on the ball, but a slight hesitation was all it took for Osborne to beat the throw and load the bases with only one out. Bryan was putting emphasis behind every swing, just looking for enough distance to seal the deal. The next batter made contact, but the ball traveled high and in foul territory as Point took advantage and made the catch for out two. After dealing a complete seven innings, allowing nine hits and four runs while walking one and striking out five, Petty stepped into the box and was focused on delivering the dagger. Once again, it took fighting through a 2-2 count, fouling three off, but on the last pitch of the game Petty smacked a soft shot over the pitcher and short of the second baseman. The Skyhawk at second ran to gather the ball and couldn't produce a clean release when sending the ball to first. The first baseman was forced to make a play by catching the throw at her feet, but the surging Petty didn't help. The ball fell out of her glove and to the ground, allowing Beecham to cross home and keeping Petty safe at first to give the Lions a 5-4 comeback walk-off victory over the Skyhawks.
The sweep improved Bryan's overall record to 12-12 and AAC record to 6-0, while Point fell to 19-15 overall and 7-5 in conference play. Union is the only other AAC school to be undefeated in conference action with an overall record of 18-17 and 6-0 conference record.
No errors were committed by either team, and the Lions had one more hit than the Skyhawks in game one, but Point was able to post only one run in the top of the second before being shutout the final five innings. Sydney West (SO/White House, Tenn.) earned her fifth win of the season when hurled seven innings and gave up only one run and seven hits, walked two, and tallied a pair of K's.
Gore carried Bryan's offense in the opening game as she brought in the three of the Lion's runs. In the bottom of the first inning, Bryan jumped on the board first when Heidi Smith (FR/Cookeville, Tenn.) led off with a single to shallow center and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt laid down by Kim Borowski (SR/Apopka, Fla.). Gore weaved her way through a full count, waited on the pitch she wanted, and then smoked a double to deep left. Smith rounded third and came home for a 1-0 Bryan lead.
Point countered in the top of the second, but it would be the only answer they could muster in the game. Their run began with a leadoff double followed by a fielder's choice, putting a runner on third with one out. A groundout kept the Skyhawk at third and moved the outs to two. A single up the middle was all it took for Point to avoid the blanking.
Tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the third, it was the duo of Smith and Gore once again to propel the Lions back out in front. Smith was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on another sac-bunt by Borowski, and was sent home when Gore blasted a two-run shot to over the fence in right-center for her first homerun of the year.
The Lions controlled a 3-1 advantage and added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Borowski led off with a double to left and was followed by Gore who walked. With no outs, Zimmerman set Bryan up to create even more separation between Point when she singled to left, which loaded the bases. O'Shields came through with a long sac-fly to center, scoring Borowski. A ground out and strikeout prevented the Lions from doing more damage as Bryan cruised to a 4-1 win.
Gore led the team with three runs batted in off her two hits, coming in the form of a double and homer. Zimmerman and Ashley Brown (JR/Pikeville, Tenn.) were the only other Lions to have a multi-hit game, both finishing 2-of-3. O'Shields had the other RBI for the team. Smith went 1-of-3 with a team-high two runs scored. Borowski aided with one run and a double.
According to the stats, game two was another head-to-head game and it played out that way as the final was determined in a late rally in the seventh by the Lions to win in come-from-behind fashion. Bryan got the advantage in hits, narrowly edging past Point 10-9, while both committed two errors apiece.
After the first two innings it was still scoreless, but in the top of the third the Skyhawks soared ahead for a 1-0 lead. A pitch hit the first batter and a single thru the hole at shortstop put two runners on with no outs. An error on the next play proved costly for the Lions when a bobble following a sac-bunt allowed a run to score and the batter to reach first. Fortunately for Bryan, Point was putout at first on a bunt attempt, popped out to short, and struck out looking to avoid any more runs from being scored.
The Lions responded in the bottom of the fourth inning to take control of the lead. Zimmerman began the rally with a single to center to leadoff the at-bat for Bryan. Another single followed when O'Shields directed a hit to short, which allowed Zimmerman scoring position at third before handing over base running duties to Lindsey Dunn (FR/Murray County, Ga.). O'Shields saw a chance and went for it, stealing second to put runners on second and third with no outs. A single driven to left by Osborne plated Dunn and O'Shields to put the Lions on top 2-1 with their first runs of the game. Osborne was able to reach second and then third when numerous throws were made in hopes to prevent the Lions from scoring. Brown lifted Bryan to a 3-1 advantage with a sac-fly crushed to deep center, which scored Osborne from third. Kaleigh Riley (SR/Hixson, Tenn.) also singled in the frame, but it fell between a strikeout and pop out that ended the inning.
Despite having the lead taken away, Point put what happened in the fourth inning behind them and dealt Bryan a three-run blow in the top of the fifth. The first run came across home plate when the Skyhawks registered a double to the fence and then advanced to third and back home off back-to-back hits that were fielder's choices. With runners on first and second, Point was walked which loaded the bases. A single to left helped Point to two runs as they regained control 4-3. The Skyhawks lined out to third for the final out of the frame.
Following the bottom of the fifth where Bryan couldn't generate much offensively, the Lions looked in trouble when Point set the tone by singling up the middle and then reaching base off a successive bunt to begin the top of the sixth. When the game could have went south for the Lions, they dug deep and remained focused when a lined ball was deflected off a glove and caught for the out, sailed to second after catching the runner off guard, and then zipped to first base before the Skyhawks could react as Bryan completed the triple play.
In the bottom of the sixth, Brown and Petty both singled and Brown took scoring position at third after Riley grounded out, but the threat was eliminated by Point when the Lions popped out to the pitcher's mound to end the frame.
In the top of the seventh, Petty wouldn't allow the Skyhawks a chance as she retired them after giving up just one hit. In the bottom of the frame, a single by Gore and walk by Zimmerman helped the Lions gain momentum to overwhelm Point. O'Shields doubled to score the tying run as the go-ahead run took third. An error at first base allowed Beecham to score from third and Petty to reach first for the walk-off 5-4 win.
Petty is now 6-5 as she also went 1-of-4 and drove in the winning run. Osborne led all players with three hits, while she also chipped in a team-high two RBIs and scored one run. O'Shields ended 2-of-4 with a double that scored the tying run. Gore, Zimmerman, Brown, and Riley each collected one hit in the contest, respectively. Ralston scored the tying run for the Lions, and Beecham sprinted home on the last play to seal the nightcap win.
The Lions continue AAC play when they hit the road for South Carolina this weekend, taking on the Koalas of Columbia College on Saturday, Mar. 25. The first pitch of the twinbill is scheduled for 1pm EST.
For a complete look at the Bryan Softball schedule, click here.
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