No. 4 Armstrong ends Lady Cougar win streak - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

No. 4 Armstrong ends Lady Cougar win streak

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COLUMBUS, Ga. – The 24th-ranked Columbus State softball team saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end as fourth-ranked Armstrong Atlantic knocked off the Lady Cougars 5-1 and 7-1 in a doubleheader at Cougar Field on Wednesday afternoon. 

With the wins, Armstrong (19-2-1, 4-0 PBC) becomes the last unbeaten team in Peach Belt Conference play this season and ups its own winning streak to nine games. 

The Pirates wasted no time in the opener, striking for a single run in the top of the first. After CSU starter Mollie Russell got two outs, Shelby Duff hit a roller back at Russell. The senior couldn't corral it allowing Duff to reach base safely. 

Duff proceeded to steal second and was doubled home in the next at-bat as Alexis Mercer ripped a double down the rightfield line. 

It was the first time that Columbus State allowed a run in 44 innings, a streak that dated back to the fifth inning of a game against Carson-Newman on March 6. After that, CSU's pitching staff tossed six straight shutouts. 

The Pirates threatened again in the second after a single and a walk put two runners on with no outs. However, Russell settled down inducing three straight grounders. 

In the fourth, Armstrong put three on the board to make it a 4-0 ballgame. Hannah Reppert singled to get things started and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Two straight singles followed including a RBI base knock by Celia Blome that found the hole between the first and second basemen. 

After a groundout for the second out of the frame, Kacie Patterson singled to centerfield driving in two more for Armstrong. 

Columbus State (20-11, 4-2) notched its first hit of the game in the fourth inning as Taylor Turner hit a line drive into the left-centerfield gap. However, nothing came of it as Megan Barnwell got the third out of the frame just a batter later. 

In the fifth, a walk and a hit batter put two runners on with two outs for Kori Waugh. Waugh just missed out on her 12th homer of the season driving the ball to the warning track where the centerfielder brought it in for the final out of the inning. 

The Lady Cougars made things interesting in the sixth after Branigan Wix led the inning off with a walk. After Casey Googe reached base on a fielder's choice, Turner recorded her second hit of the game lacing a ball to centerfield. 

With two outs, Kodi Ricketson singled through the rightside of the infield, however, on the play Armstrong rightfielder Haley Ellis tried to get Ricketson out at first. The throw eluded the first baseman allowing Googe to race home from third to make it 4-1. With the tying run at the plate, relief pitcher Shelby Duff recorded a strikeout to get out of the jam. 

The Pirates added an insurance run in the seventh after Duff got hit by a pitch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Reppert followed with a single to centerfield driving in Duff. 

Megan Barnwell picked up the victory tossing five shutout innings. She allowed just one hit and walked three. 

At the plate, Kacie Patterson was 1-for-4 with two RBIs while Hannah Reppert finished 2-for-4 with a RBI. 

For CSU, Mollie Russell (10-6) was hit with the loss going four innings allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. Kristen Carr pitched the final three innings allowing just one run. 

Taylor Turner was the lone bright spot for Columbus State at the plate going 2-for-3. Kodi Ricketson and Bree Nowlin both picked up a hit.

In the nightcap, Armstrong struck first early in the game. With two down in the second inning, Kat Vogler reached first on an error by third baseman Kodi Ricketson. A wild pitch moved Vogler to second and Bridget Devlin then singled to leftfield driving home Vogler.

Columbus State threatened for the first time in the third inning when Nina Rubio singled off the glove of Kacie Patterson at third base with one out. Kori Waugh then walked putting two runners on. However, back-to-back fly outs to leftfield ended the inning without a run scoring.

The Pirates added to their lead in the top of the fourth. Vogler started the rally again doubling off the wall in leftfield with one out. Devlin followed with another single to left moving Vogler up to third. Heather Ellis then struck for the big blow with her second homerun of the season to extend Armstrong's lead to 4-0.

The Lady Cougars finally got on the board in the fifth inning as Morgan Knight led off the inning with her first homerun of the year. It was the only run CSU would score in the game.

Three more runs came in to score for the Pirates in the sixth when Brittany Cooley doubled to right-centerfield with the bases loaded.

Megan Barnwell (13-1) picked up her second win of the day tossing four shutout innings allowing just two hits and striking out three. Shelby Duff recorded her first save allowing just one run over the final three innings.

Taylor Turner (6-3) took the loss for the Lady Cougars. The sophomore allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings of work.

Bridget Devlin, Hannah Reppert and Heather Ellis each had multi-hit performances for Armstrong. Ellis and Brittany Cooley drove in three runs apiece.

Kristen Carr, Morgan Knight and Nina Rubio each went 1-for-3 at the plate recording the only three hits for CSU.

Columbus State now gets ready for a conference doubleheader against Flagler on Sunday, March 17. The Lady Cougars and Saints will play two games at Cougar Field beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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