VALDOSTA -- Amanda Edwards had a little bit of fear with every pitch because each one could have been her last.
"I pitched that last one and I was like, 'Oh my god this could be last pitch. OK, she fouled it off. Then, I was like oh my god this could be my last pitch, OK it's a ball. I got the strikeout and I said, 'Oh god, that's the way I want to go out."
Edwards struck out her last batter in her final home game, but fellow senior Jessie Ortiz struck out to end VSU's regular season as the Blazers split a doubleheader with Tampa on Thursday when the Spartans won the second game, 4-1. The Blazers (26-38) won the first game, 4-3.
"I wanted to hit so badly," said Ortiz, who missed the first game and the first inning of the second game to give a senior biology presentation. "I guess I should have ended last week."
Ortiz crushed a memorable grand slam a week ago at the Gulf South Conference Crossover, but the Blazers split eight games there, grabbing all of their wins in the final five games, and that has their tournament future at stake. Lincoln Memorial can secure the East Division's fourth and final spot in the conference tournament with a sweep at West Alabama this weekend. LMU held on for an 8-7 win in a makeup game against West Georgia on Thursday. However, one loss means the Railsplitters can do no better than tie VSU, which owns the tiebreaker after sweeping a three-game set at home March 19-20.
The last time VSU missed the GSC tournament was 2000.
Edwards, who has the nickname Ace from her teammates for her work in the circle, won the first game with her bat. She clubbed her first home run earlier this season and knocked home a run with a double in the fourth inning. She scored two batters later on Lindsey Lloyd's single for the game-winning run.
Edwards allowed two earned runs in Game 2, but her effort was undermined by a porous VSU defense. The Blazers committed three errors in the top of the fourth inning, leading directly to three runs for the Spartans (19-22).
The fourth run scored an inning later as Tampa's Brandyce Trowell got caught in a rundown between third and home, but slid in ahead of the tag.
Lloyd plated VSU's lone run in the bottom of the fifth on an infield single by Melissa Santana, her third hit of the game.
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