ULM eliminates Panthers early in Sun Belt tournament

Photo courtesy of GSU Softball twitter account.

A ninth inning-rally from the No. 6 Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks eliminated No. 3 Georgia State from the softball Sun Belt tournament Wednesday at Lamson Park in Lafayette, Louisiana.

The Panthers were shocked by Louisiana-Monroe 2-1 in extra innings ending the team’s season 30-26, 12-6 in the Sun Belt.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to reach our ultimate goal of winning the conference tournament,” head coach Roger Kincaid said. “I am sad to say that it is over for our three seniors [Kaitlyn Medlam, Jessica Clifton and McQuilla Franklin] because they are all special and have shown great leadership. The team wanted to extend the season for them, but sadly, we were unable to do that.”

The Panthers stranded 12 runners on base killing several opportunities the Panthers had to get the lead. The Warhawks stranded five runners on base.

“We failed to execute with runners on base,” Kincaid said. “We did not get the big hits when we need them.”

The Warhawks were on the board first in the top of the third by an RBI single from freshman outfielder Rochelle Roberts that gave Louisiana-Monroe a 1-0 lead.

Louisiana-Monroe maintained its advantage until the bottom of the fifth with a Taylor Anderson double, but she was thrown out after being caught in a rundown. Kensey Caldwell reached base on a fielder’s choice followed by a walk from  Lauren Coleman. An error by Warhawks shortstop Faith Bohack allowed Caldwell to score and tie the game at 1.

Georgia State threatened in the bottom of the sixth as Ashley Christy singled, then stole second base. Jessica Clifton walked, and Anderson was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs before Caldwell was retired on a strikeout to end the Panthers’ threat.

The game went into extra innings tied at 1.

Louisiana-Monroe’s first baseman Amye Barre led off the frame with a walk, then Kaitlyn Dupuis came in as the pinch runner.

A sacrifice bunt from Bohack advanced Dupuis to second with one out, and pinch hitter Hollie Letourneau singled to plate Dupuis and give the Warhawks a 2-1.

Louisiana-Monroe redshirt senior pitcher Samantha Hamby retired the Panthers in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Panthers did not have a rally in them to end the game and the Panthers’ season.

Melanie Coyne was awarded the victory for the Warhawks. She pitched four and two-thirds innings, allowed only two hits, one run, three walks and struck out one.

Medlam was credited with the loss despite pitching a complete game in her final game in her Georgia State career. She pitched nine innings, allowed six hits, two runs, one walk and two strikeouts.

It is a tough way to end the season,” said Kincaid. “But I am still extremely proud of the team for coming into the Sun Belt and finishing third in the regular season in a very difficult conference.”