PBA Softball Falls 7-2 to Valdosta State in the Opening Round of the NCAA Tournament
May 9, 2014
Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations
TAMPA, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic softball team took on Valdosta State University on Friday in the first game of the NCAA South Regional Tournament and came up short as the Blazers earned a 7-2 win over the Sailfish at Naimoli Family Field. The loss drops the ‘Fish to the loser’s bracket where they will take on the loser of Delta State University and the University of Tampa on Saturday at 3:30 pm.
The Sailfish (30-15) and Blazers (41-13) were the respective No. 3 and No. 6-seeds in the NCAA South Regional Tournament while being joined in the four-team tournament by Delta State (No. 7-seed) and the host-Spartans (No. 1-seed) of the University of Tampa.
The Blazers jumped in front on a sweltering afternoon with a bases-loaded walk from Fran Johnson in the bottom of the first inning then extended their lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth frame on a 2-run single from Courtney Albritton.
Although VSU starting pitcher Brianna Hancock breezed thru the first three innings with a perfect nine up and nine down she began to run into trouble against the usually-potent PBA offense in the middle innings.
After finally breaking through for their first hit in the fourth inning the Sailfish came away with a pair of runs in the fifth as freshman Brianna Rano blooped in a RBI single while another run came in to score on a throwing error by the Blazers’ catcher.
The Valdosta offense would not be done however as they broke open the tight contest with a four-spot in the bottom of the sixth to take their eventual 7-2 margin to victory.
Sophomore Amber Johnson (17-8) took the loss for Palm Beach Atlantic as she went the first three innings before handing the ball off to junior Kayti Lundin. Both hurlers did great damage control as the Blazers outhit PBA 7-5 in the game and left six runners on base.
Shelby Altman and Fran Johnson both collected two hits apiece for VSU in the win while the top-three in the VSU batting order drove in six of the seven runs.
If the Sailfish are victorious in their loser’s bracket matchup at 3:30 pm on Saturday they will turn around and play the loser of the winner’s bracket second round at approximately 6 pm.