HICKORY, N.C. - The Georgia College & State University softball team (32-24) got one win today (May 9) but needed two to stay alive in the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament in Hickory, getting knocked out in game two by host Lenoir-Rhyne University. The Bobcats clobbered Peach Belt Conference (PBC) foe No. 15 USC Aiken (34-16) 8-0 in five innings before falling to Lenoir-Rhyne (38-12) in the nightcap 6-4.
Game one was a solid slugfest for Georgia College, as both third baseman Tonya Medders (Bascom, Fla.) and designated player Kayla Smith (Lexington, S.C.) hit three-run home runs in the run-rule shortened contest. Medders got the scoring started with her bomb in the first, and Smith's proved to be a walk-off type, giving the Bobcats the eight-run lead in the bottom of the fifth to call the game.
Bobcat starter Mandy Chandler (Covington, Ga.) was the beneficiary of the run support, tossing five innings of one-hit shutout ball, fanning four. USCA starter Toni Flessate (18-8) took the loss, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing all eight runs, with just four earned.
Smith was 2-for-3 with four RBI and a run in game one, aided by a 2-for-2 from first baseman Chelsea Wilson (Jacksonville, Fla.) with two runs and an RBI.
In game two, the Bobcats jumped out in front on another Smith home run, taking a 1-0 lead in the second. LRU answered with back-to-back doubles to start the bottom half, tying the game. A single by catcher Sarah Atkins plated the go-ahead run in the third.
The Bears added two runs each in the fifth and sixth for a 6-1 advantage going into the last inning.
The Bobcats wouldn't go down without a fight, as with two down, a walk and a single put two on for centerfielder Sherquita Bostick (Florence, S.C.). She jumped all over the first pitch, knocking it off the scoreboard in left center for a three-run blast, cutting the lead to 6-4. That's where the rally would end however, as the season came to a close.
Chandler (27-15) took the loss in game two, going five innings and surrendering four runs, with three earned. She fanned four and walked three, scattering five hits. Bear starter Dawon Millwood (18-4) went all seven, allowing four earned runs and fanning five while allowing six walks.
Not a single Bobcat had multiple hits in game two, as they were held to four team hits.
The season comes to a close for GCSU, one that saw the Bobcats make their fourth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Georgia College took second in the PBC Standings, matching its highest finish. Chandler set the PBC mark in single-season strikeouts as well as career wins and whiffs this season, and stands at 1,207, good for fifth in NCAA Division II history. The 417 this season ranks ninth in the NCAA Division II recordbooks.
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