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Georgia Southern softball wins SoCon tournament

BOONE, N.C. — Georgia Southern Softball defeated College of Charleston 6-2 to win the 2012 Southern Conference Softball Tournament. The league title is the third for the Eagles in program history and first since 2006. The Eagles advance to the NCAA Tournament and will learn their destination on Sunday night at 10 p.m. on ESPNU.

"We came out today and the girls really wanted to win this Championship," said Head Coach Annie Smith. "College of Charleston is a very good team and they were able to beat us in game one, but our girls battled back. I told the team that I’ve been to the NCAA Tournament eight times before, and it’s something that I really want them to experience."

College of Charleston drew first blood in the first inning, pairing a double with an RBI chopper up the middle, giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead. Kelsey Hodgson posted the RBI single that brought Carly Corthell home after her leadoff double.

Andrea Tarashuk brought the Eagles back on level terms with a mammoth home run to right. It was the third time this season she has gone long distance and marked the 37th home run in the tournament. Tabby Douberley followed suit later in the inning, launching a moon-shot home run to centerfield. It was her second of the day and sixth of the year. The home runs gave GSU its first lead of the Championship Series at 2-1.

In the fourth, Lexi Allen crushed her third career home run to the gap in right-center. The two-run shot gave the Eagles a 4-1 advantage and forced Charleston into a pitching change. The starter, Stephanie Saylors was removed in favor of game-one winner Hope Klicker.

With a new pitcher in the circle, the result was the same with Alexa Lewis hitting the tournament’s 40th home run to straight-away centerfield. The Eagles produced the back-to-back home runs for the first time since March 11th against Samford, giving the Eagles a 5-1 lead.

Two pitches into the bottom of the fourth, Charleston’s Amanda Lonergan hit a solo home run to center to make the score 5-2.

A hard-hit ball by Tarashuk in the fifth ended Klicker’s outing, bringing Jen Rosene on with runners on the corners and one out. Thomas extended the lead to 6-2 with a RBI ground ball to short.

A pair of stellar defensive plays highlighted the bottom of the fifth. Hanna Ennis started the inning with a diving snag to a ground ball and a throw from her knees to get Ashton Jarrett at first. Later in the inning with two outs, Mackenzie Maples singled to the gap in right. Allen was quick to the ball, gunning the ball back in the infield to nail Maples at second.

Allie Miles went the distance in the circle for the Eagles, striking out eight batters while scattering the eight Charleston hits. The performance earned her SoCon All-Tournament Team Honors. She was joined on the team by Douberley, Tarashuk and Sarah Purvis. Purvis was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

The Eagles play next weekend in the NCAA Tournament at a destination to be determined. The brackets will be announced on Sunday night on ESPNU at 10 p.m.