COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State erupted for five runs in the fourth inning and Mollie Russell tossed her second straight shutout in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament as the Lady Cougars defeated top-seeded and No. 6 Armstrong 6-0 on Sunday afternoon to advance to the conference championship game versus No. 11 North Georgia at Cougar Field in Columbus, Georgia.
NG reached the title game, their fifth in a row, by taking down USC Aiken in their semifinal contest Sunday morning by a score of 9-0.
The Lady Cougars had a runner reach safely in each of the first three innings before putting up five in the fourth which began with a Casey Googe double down the leftfield line. Kara Gordon and Morgan Staffins had back-to-back RBI singles to score the contest's first two runs. Kori Waugh followed suit with a double down the leftfield line that chased Armstrong starter Celia Blome from the contest as CSU went ahead 3-0.
After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Waugh scored on a fielder's choice by Branigan Wix. Nina Rubio walked loading the bases with just one out. Following a strikeout, Googe walked forcing in the final run of the inning and giving the tournament hosts a 5-0 lead.
That would be all Russell would need as the right-hander was dealing all afternoon.
Shelby Duff led the game off with a dribbler in front of home plate for a base hit before 11 straight Pirates were retired. An error broke the streak before Russell induced another groundout to get out of the fourth.
Two infield singles and a double were scattered over the next three innings for Armstrong as their two-out double in the seventh inning was the only time some a Pirated reached scoring position.
Morgan Staffins put the icing on the cake with a solo homerun that hit off the top of the wall and bounced over for her ninth long fly of the season and making it a 6-0 ballgame.