MILLEDGEVILLE, GA – The seventh-seeded Francis Marion University Patriots trimmed a five-run deficit down to one, but lost to the second-seeded and eighth-ranked Georgia College Bobcats by a 9-5 score, Friday afternoon (April 24) in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Peach Belt Conference Softball Tournament.
Francis Marion's season concludes with a 25-22 record. The 43-8 Bobcats will take on the winner of the game between Armstrong State University and the University of Montevallo in semifinal action on Saturday.
FMU senior right-hander Katie Carnes (11-6) pitched five innings, giving up 10 hits and nine runs (eight of them earned) in a losing cause. The loss snapped a personal four-game winning streak for the Pageland native.
Both sophomore designated player Danielle Myers and freshman first baseman Madison Lowe-Gardner registered two RBIs for the Patriots. Junior catcher Shannan Lopez improved her hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4 day at the plate, while freshman right fielder Tori Gaskins also had two hits in four at-bats.
Georgia College sophomore Carly Lewis (20-4) pitched the final 3.2 innings, fanning two and walking three, to earn the victory. First baseman Faith Flanders went 2-for-4 and drove in the first five runs of the contest, while center fielder Danielle Bernstein recorded three hits in her four at-bats.
In the second, Flanders uncorked a two-run homer to left field. In the following frame, Flanders' bases-clearing double extended the GC advantage to 5-0.
FMU responded with a trio of runs in the fourth. The Patriots plated the first run when Lowe-Gardner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Sophomore designated player Danielle Myers won a 12-pitch battle with Lewis that produced a bases-loaded walk for an RBI. Sophomore left fielder Briana Barzola ripped a run-scoring single to trim the difference to 5-3. Following Barzola's single, however, Lewis thwarted further FMU damage by inducing a pop out, as the Patriots left the bases loaded.
After the Bobcats registered a run in the bottom of the fourth to lead 6-3, the Patriots notched a pair of runs in the fifth when Lowe-Gardner was once again hit by a pitch with the bases jammed and Myers followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to pull the Patriots to within one, 6-5. FMU had the bases loaded again, but couldn't scratch across more than two runs.
After Francis Marion stranded two runners in the top of the sixth, Georgia College put the game out of reach with three insurance tallies in the bottom of the sixth.