STARKVILLE, Miss. — After dropping the season opener 5-3 to Troy, the Georgia State softball team rallied back from a six-run deficit to defeat SIUE 10-9 and split the two games on the opening day of the 2013 season at the Bulldog Kickoff Classic.
Game 1: Troy 5, GSU 3
Georgia State scored first in the bottom of the second inning. Audrey Mason singled, moved to third and reached home on a double steal. The Panthers would end the game with a total of four stolen bases.
Troy answered in the top of the third with two runs on a two-out bases-loaded single by third baseman Chandler Griffin. Troy extended their lead to 4-1 on two more runs in the fifth on three hits. The Trojans twice had bases loaded with no outs and managed to score a pair of runs both times.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jessica Clifton hit a double that scored Ashley Christy from second base. Clifton was immediately driven home on a Calle Alford double. Those pair of runs pulled GSU to within a run.
Clifton would finish the game 2-of-4 at the plate with a double, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base.
Troy added another run on a sac fly in the seventh inning to reach the final score of 5-3.
Starter Kaitlyn Medlam lasted 6.1 innings before being relieved by Emily Clay. Medlam surrendered five runs on six hits, while striking out three and walking two.
Game 2: GSU 10, SIUE 9
Down 9-3 in the fourth inning, Georgia State scored three runs in the fourth inning and four in the fifth to overcome the six-run deficit and earn the first victory of the season.
The last time the Panthers recovered from a deficit of five or more runs was last season in the Buzz Classic against Tennessee Tech. In that contest, GSU trailed 5-0 but came back to win 8-7.
Ashley Christy had three RBI on a pair of hits, including a double, scored three runs and drew a walk to lead the Panthers. Taylor Anderson and Taylor Scarpantonio also notched a pair of RBI each, while Lauren Coleman and Paige Nowacki both registered two hits and scored two runs.
SIUE struck quickly in the first inning with two runs on a double and a pair of singles. Georgia State answered in the bottom of the second with three runs of their own on a two-RBI double by Christy. Scarpantonio then had a sacrifice fly that plated Christy from third.
The Cougars then struck for seven runs in the top of the fourth inning on a three hits to open up a 9-3 lead. SIUE batted around in the inning and drove GSU starting pitcher Katie Worley from the game.
In the bottom of the fourth, Anderson knocked in a two-run single and Coleman scored from third on a wild pitch to make the score 9-6.
Callie Alford and Nowacki started of the fifth inning with a back-to-back singles for GSU. Three consecutive walks by Coleman, Christy and Scarpantonio proceeded to load the bases and force in a pair of runs. Then a costly error by the SIUE second baseman allowed two more runs to score as the Panthers took a 10-9 lead.
The Panthers would hold on to get the victory as Medlam (1-1) pitched 3.1 innings of relief to earn the win. In her first career start, Worley lasted 3.1 innings, allowed four runs on three hits and struck out four. Emily Clay also pitched in relief of Worley.
The Panthers return to action in the Bulldog Kickoff Classic Saturday, Feb. 8, when they take on host Mississippi State at 6:30 pm and then South Alabama at 8:30 pm.