VALDOSTA — Game 2: Valdosta State 10, Christian Brothers 3
The Blazers continued to pound the softball in game 2, hitting four home runs, getting 16 hits and crossing home plate 10 times.
Christian Brothers got a pair of runs in the top of the first. Grooms led off with a single to left, Nikki Story bunted and reached on an error and the two runners moved up on a wild pitch. Joiner’s single scored Grooms. One out later, Taylor Rosa-Ramon singled just in front of a sliding right fielder, and Story scored to give the Lady Buccaneers a 2-0 lead. But Blazer pitcher Brianna Hancock escaped further damage with a strikeout and a pop up to second.
That lead wouldn’t last long, because the Blazers scored three times in the bottom of the first. With one out, Morgan Johnson and Altman singled to center. Steinhilber hit a ground ball to second, but the second baseman’s throw pulled the shortstop off the bag, and the bases were loaded. Lindsey Hamlin singled up the middle, and Johnson and Altman scored to tie the game at 2-2. Then Kiley Rusen lined a double off the base of the fence in left center, and Steinhilber slid home to give VSU a 3-2 lead.
Morgan Johnson stepped up to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the second, and deposited another pitch into the Ashley Cinemas parking lot. Her solo home run gave the Blazers a 4-2 lead.
Christian Brothers scored again in the top of the third. Story, Joiner and Jennifer Gonzalez started the inning with singles, loading the bases. One out later, Emily Schmidt laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring Story to cut the Blazers’ lead to 4-3.
At that point, the Blazers only held a one-run lead. But Morgan Johnson and Steinhilber changed that in the bottom of the fourth.
After Collins walked and Albritton singled to start the fourth, Morgan Johnson came to the plate. She got a pitch to hit, and drilled it over the center field fence for a three-run homer, giving the Blazers a 7-3 lead.
After a pitching change and a pop-up to third, Steinhilber stepped into the batter’s box and hammered a pitch over the center field fence. The ball landed in nearly the exact same spot as Johnson’s homer had earlier in the inning, and it extended Valdosta State’s lead to 8-3.
VSU tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth — thanks to Steinhilber — to complete the rout. With Morgan Johnson on first and one out, the senior catcher got a pitch she liked, and hit it over the fence in left field for a two-run homer, giving her team a 10-3 lead.
Morgan Johnson was a perfect 4 for 4 in game 2, with two home runs, four RBIs and four runs scored. Steinhilber went 2 for 4 with her two home runs, three runs scored and three RBIs. Hamlin had two hits and drove in two runs. Rusen was 2 for 3 with one RBI. Altman also had two hits.
Hancock (13-4) pitched a complete game, allowing three runs, two earned, and nine hits. She struck out two.
For Christian Brothers, Grooms, Joiner and Gonzalez had two hits each.
Valdosta State will travel to Southaven, Miss. later this week to participate in the Gulf South Conference tournament.