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February 23, 2013

VSU softball to host Holiday Inn Classic this weekend

VALDOSTA — The top-ranked Valdosta State softball team will host the Holiday Inn Classic this weekend at the newly renamed Steel’s Diamond at Blazer Park.

The Blazers will play four games in two days, a pair of games against Northwood and a pair against Lander.

The tournament starts today when Valdosta State hosts the Northwood Timerberwolves at 11 a.m. That game will be followed by Northwood’s game against West Florida at 1 p.m.

West Florida will then play Lander at 3 p.m., with the Blazers closing out the first day action with a game against Lander at 5 p.m.   On Sunday, Northwood will face West Florida at 9 a.m., before playing Valdosta State at 3 p.m. The Blazers will play Lander at 1 p.m. prior to their game against Northwood. Lander and West Florida will meet at 11 a.m.

A heavy forecast of rain could alter the tournament schedule. No alternate schedule, for rain issues, was released.

Valdosta State has yet to play Northwood, a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, or West Florida this season. VSU and West Florida will meet for the first time this season March 6 in Pensacola in Gulf South Conference action. The two teams will meet again April 6 in Valdosta.

The Blazers are 1-0 against Lander, though. The two teams met in the Charger Chill Out tournament in Decatur, Ala. last weekend. VSU beat Lander 11-1 in just five innings of play.

In the game, every Blazer starter recorded at least one hit, including Courtney Albritton and Kiley Rusen, who finished with three hits each.

In the pitching circle, Kenzi Reed allowed one run on four hits in five innings of work.

Valdosta State enters this weekend an 11-1 record and a winner of five straight games. The Blazers’ only loss of the year came last weekend, a 3-2 loss to Indianapolis University on walk-off home run.

Through the first 12 games, the Blazers are batting .378 as a team and holding opponents to just a .211 average. They’re also averaging over nine runs per game.

Senior Morgan Johnson leads the team with a .471 batting average with 16 hits, 15 runs scored, three home runs, 13 runs batted in and a team-high six doubles.  

Albritton, the reigning conference Freshman and Player of the Year, is hitting .465 with 12 RBIs and a team-high six home runs and 22 runs scored.

Carson King, Ashley Steinhilber and Sarah Vaughn are also hitting over .400, while Kiley Rusen, Fran Johnson and Shelby Altman are all hitting well over .300.

In the pitching circle, the Blazers are without a dominating single pitcher. Instead, the Blazers have solid choices in the circle. So far this year, senior Brianna Hancock has a 4-0 record in a team-high seven appearances, while Kenzi Reed has the team’s lowest earned run average at 0.42.

Hancock and Reed have each thrown no-hitters this season, coming this week against in-state foe Albany State.

Lander enters the weekend hitting just .233 as a team, and allowing opponents a .337 batting average.

Due to its location in Michigan, Northwood has yet to play this season, and its four games at the Holiday Inn Classic will be its first games of the year.


Tournament Schedule


11 a.m.

Valdosta State vs. Northwood

1 p.m.

Northwood vs. West Florida

3 p.m.

Lander vs. West Florida

5 p.m.

Valdosta State vs. Lander


9 a.m.

Northwood vs. West Florida

11 a.m.

Lander vs. West Florida

1 p.m.

Valdosta State vs. Lander

3 p.m.

Valdosta State vs. Northwood

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