By Anthony Gagliano
VALDOSTA -- VSU interim softball coach Heather Wolbers expected excellent defense and pitching from her team. She got both on Sunday, but the Blazers also showed some offensive firepower in sweeping their season-opening doubleheader with Clark Atlanta.
VSU shut out the Panthers in both games, earning 11-0 and 8-0 victories. Both games ended in the fifth inning due to the eight-run mercy rule.
"The offense performed better than I thought," said Wolbers, who notched her first two victories as a head coach. "We were patient, waited for good pitches and exploded on the ball. Just like I've told them from the beginning."
VSU erupted right from the start, making a splash with a seven-run first inning in Game 1. Freshman second baseman Brooke Davis, an All-State catcher at Lowndes in 2003, supplied the big hit with a three-run triple in her first collegiate at-bat.
The Blazers cruised from there as all nine starters scored.
Shortstop Caroline Cripe and catcher Robin Williams each had two hits.
Williams, Davis' predecessor behind the plate at Lowndes, unloaded on a second-inning pitch in Game 2 for a three-run homer. The blast to straight away center capped five straight hits by VSU and gave the Blazers a 5-0 lead.
"It was a full count, so I knew she had to come close and I went after it," Williams said.
Elske ten Hoope made the effort stand up with four innings of shut out ball and freshman Kristen Lindsey struck out two in the fifth to complete the no-hitter.
Only an error in the second inning prevented the pair from combining to pitch a perfect game.
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