Softball wins three of four at Tiger Invitational to start season

It was a successful start to the season for Georgia State softball at the Auburn Invitational. After a loss to Auburn, the Panthers notched victories over Winthrop, Ball State and Eastern Illinois to begin the 2015 campaign at 3-1.

Thursday: loss to Auburn (20-8 in five innings)

Auburn would score six in the top of the first before the Panthers went to bat in the bottom half.

Taylor Anderson was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Morgan Brown moved Anderson to second. A single by Lauren Coleman drove in Anderson for the Panthers’ first run of the game. After singles from Callie Alford and Ivie Drake, one from Megan Litumbe plated Coleman and Alford as Georgia State cut its deficit to 6-3.

Kensey Caldwell would walk, then Drake scored on a passed ball. A throwing error allowed Mallory Koepke to reach base which also allowed Caldwell and Litumbe to score as Georgia State tied the game at six after one inning.

A two-RBI single and a two-RBI homer accounted for four Tigers runs in the top of the second as Auburn led 10-6.

In the bottom of the second, Brown reached on a fielding error, and then advanced to second after a sacrifice bunt by Coleman. Walks to Alford and Drake moved Brown to third, then she’d score after a sacrifice fly out by Litumbe as the Panthers made the score 10-7.

The Tigers would score a total of ten runs over the next three innings as their lead became 20-7 after five.

A home run by Caldwell would account for the Panthers’ lone run of the bottom of the fifth as Auburn would complete a 20-8 victory in five innings.

Friday: win over Winthrop (8-7)

Winthrop had a 3-0 lead until the top half of the fourth, when after a single by Drake, Litumbe’s two-run homer gave Georgia State one at 3-2.

In the top of the fifth, Brown would reach base on an error, then after she moved to second, a bunt by Coleman placed her at first and Brown to third. Alford reached base on a fielder’s choice then advanced to second. A double by Drake would plate both Coleman and Alford giving Georgia State a 4-3 lead. Another two-run homer by Litumbe grew the Panthers’ lead to 6-3.

Winthrop answered with four of its own in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead at 7-6.

In the top of the sixth, Brown singled, followed by Coleman reaching on an error moving Brown to second. After a wild pitch that moved Brown to third and Coleman to second, Ashley Christy was brought in to pinch run for Coleman. Alford flied out to right field, scoring Brown and tying the game at seven apiece. A walk to Drake was followed by a Litumbe RBI single scoring by Christy giving the Panthers an 8-7 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Winthrop would retire as Georgia State notched its first victory of the season.

Friday: win over Ball State (10-4)

After Ball State plated one in the top of the first, the Panthers would score three in the bottom half. After singles by Anderson and Brown along with a walk to Coleman, Alford’s two-RBI single gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead. That lead became 3-1 after a lineout from Litumbe.

The Cardinals gave one more in the top of the second, but in the bottom of the second, Taylor Bradley began the frame with a double before a two-run home run by Anderson increased the Panthers’ lead to 5-2.

Ball State added one more in the top of the fourth closing within 5-3.

The bottom of the fourth would see Bradley hit by a pitch, then a double by Anderson scoring Bradley and increasing the Georgia State lead back to three at 6-3.

Coleman led off the bottom of the fifth with a double. Christy pinched and ran for Coleman before Drake singled to plate Christy. A double by Caldwell allowed Drake to reach home for an 8-3 Panthers lead.

Georgia State tacked on two more in the bottom of the sixth to up its lead to 10-3.

The Cardinals scored one more in the top of the seventh, but the Panthers would complete a 10-4 victory over Ball State.

Saturday: win over Eastern Illinois (7-6)

Eastern Illinois would jump out to a 6-0 after five innings before the Panthers reached on the scoreboard.

In the bottom of the fifth, Caldwell led off with a single. Bradley was hit by a pitch, then Koepke reached on a fielder’s choice. Anderson walked, then Brown grounded out to second base, allowing Caldwell to score. A three-run homer by Coleman and solo homers from Alford and Drake tied it up at six.

In the bottom of the seventh, Brown doubled, then a grounder from Coleman advanced Brown to third. Two batters later, Drake singled to plate Brown and give Georgia State a 7-6 victory.

Georgia State will face Auburn on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on the road before its home opener on Friday at 5 p.m. against Savannah State.