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Eagles crush Western, head to semifinals

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Georgia Southern Softball earned a spot in the SoCon Tournament Semifinals with a 6-0 win over Western Carolina on Thursday afternoon. Alexa Lewis hit a leadoff home run to set the tone for a big Eagle win. Sarah Purvis tossed a two-hit shutout for her second win in as many days in the circle. The Eagles are in the drivers’ seat in their bracket, needing one win from two games against a yet to be determined opponent on Friday at 10 a.m.
    “Sarah (Purvis) had another great performance today, she took the no-hitter into the fifth inning, so we were really happy with the way she pitched today,” said Head Coach Annie Smith. “Our hitters have done a great job at having good at bats and good things happened for us at the plate today.”
    The win improved the Eagles to 30-27 on the season and guaranteed the Eagles an above .500 finish for the season for the second-straight season. Georgia Southern had nine hits on the day, raising their tournament total to 20.
    The Eagles opened the game in style as leadoff hitter Alexa Lewis hit a solo home run to straight-away centerfield. Her eighth career home run and second this season against WCU’s starting pitcher Jordan Garrett gave GSU a 1-0 lead through the first half inning. It was the fourth-straight game that the Eagles have scored in the opening inning. Lewis has also now reached base in 15-straight games.
    Georgia Southern tacked on four more runs in the fourth inning. A single by Kourtny Thomas, followed by a double by Tabby Douberley put runners on second and third with one out. Dominique Grossman, who pinch ran for Thomas, scored on a sacrifice fly from Andrea Tarashuk, followed by a Kaitlyn Johnson bleeder up the middle to plate Douberley and make the lead 3-0.
    The lead grew to 5-0 as AJ Hamilton hit her second two-run home run of the tournament down the line in left.
    Western Carolina ended Purvis’ bid for a no-hitter in the bottom of the fifth when a sacrifice bunt attempt went for a single.
    With back-to-back six-run performances, the Eagle offense has posted its best start to a SoCon Tournament since 2006 when the Eagles scored 13 runs in the opening two games. The Eagles won the SoCon Tournament that season, rallying from an opening round loss to win the league and the program’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
    The Eagles are back in action on Friday morning at 10 a.m. in the opening game of day three of the SoCon Tournament. GSU will have two chances to win one game and clinch a spot in the SoCon Tournament Championship Game.