Grand Sam: Richards named GSC Pitcher of the Week for fifth time

Shane Thomas | The Valdosta Daily TimesValdosta State starting pitcher Samantha Richards (26) comes out of her wind-up in the top of the third inning against West Georgia Saturday at Steel's Diamond. Richards went six innings and struck out 10 with two hits and a walk in the Blazers' 11-0 win.

VALDOSTA –– Valdosta State sophomore softball standout Samantha Richards was named Gulf South Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second-straight week and fifth time this season, the league office announced Tuesday.

Richards, a native of Alpharetta, Ga., had one of her best weeks of the season as she went 3-0 helping VSU sweep West Georgia and four victories on the week extending the Blazers' current winning streak to 18 games. She appeared in three games with two starts, recording two complete games, two shutouts and one combined shutout. She helped VSU to not allow a single run in any of the four games this past week.

She pitched 16 innings, allowed seven hits, walked one and fanned 31 for 0.00 ERA. Teams hit just .127 against her. This week also marked the second time this season Richards fanned 30 or more in a week, while going 3-0.  In the victory Wednesday at Albany State, Richards fanned 13 for her second highest strikeout total of the season and had ten K's in the opener against West Alabama on Saturday. Richards has not allowed a run in the last 20 innings of work.

For the season, she has a 19-2 record with a 0.90 ERA in 24 appearances with 20 starts. She has 16 complete games with six shutouts and two combined shutouts. Richards has two saves and has pitched 124.2 innings, walking just 12 and fanning 160.

Nationally speaking, Richards is second in complete games (16), 14th in ERA (0.90), seventh in appearances (24), fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (13.3), fifth in strikeouts (160), third in victories (19), sixth in WHIP (0.71) and 14th in walks allowed per seven innings (0.67).

Richards and the Blazers head to Christian Brothers for a three-game series this weekend. The Blazers are 29-3 overall and a league-best 22-2 in GSC play. The series begins with a doubleheader Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, followed by a single game Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

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