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GSU splits home opener
021512 GSU SOFTBALL 01
Georgia Southern pitcher Sarah Purvis strikes out a Georgia State batter in the second inning of Game 1 on Wednesday at Eagle Field. The teams split the doubleheader.

    After suffering a tough- luck loss in its 2012 home opener, the Georgia Southern softball team bounced back to take the second half of a doubleheader against Georgia State on Tuesday at Eagle Field.
    The Lady Eagles (4-3) were blanked by the Lady Panthers (4-2), 1-0, in the first game, but a four-run third inning in Game 2 propelled GSU to a 4-1 victory in the second game.
    “It was good to come out here and get our first home win,” Eagles’ head coach Annie Smith said. “We played two tough games and we were able to hit enough and play enough defense to win the second one.”
    After falling behind, 1-0 and still looking for its first run of the day after more than nine innings, Georgia Southern got its big break early in the nightcap.
    Lexi Allen led off the bottom of the third with a single down the right field line before Jorie Walker advanced her to second with a sacrifice bunt.
    Marie Fogle delivered another single and Mackenzie Williams walked to load the bases for Andrea Tarashuk.
    The Eagles’ junior third baseman launched a double off of Georgia State starter McCall Langford, clearing the bases and giving GSU its first lead of the day.
    “My teammates did most of the work for me,” Tarashuk said. “They all got on base and set it up so that I could drive them in. I was just looking for anything to handle and got a pitch that I could drive.”
    “(Tarashuk’s hit) was huge,” Smith said. “We struggled a little offensively in the first game. When we got some better swings in the second game, everyone got going a little better.”
    Kaitlyn Medlam relieved Langford after the three-run double and retired the first batter she faced, but then surrendered an RBI single to Kourtny Thomas to stretch the Eagle advantage to 4-1.
    The four runs were all that Georgia Southern scored on the day, but it was more than enough for Brooke Red. A freshman making just her second collegiate start, Red was dominating in picking up her first win as an Eagle.
    Red allowed just three hits and one unearned run while striking out two Panthers in six innings of work.
    “It’s exciting to get my first win,” said Red. “I went out there just trying to pitch my best. I had a lot of teammates playing great defense behind me. That made things a lot easier on me.”
    Sophomore Allie Miles replaced Red in the seventh inning and picked up right where her starter left off. Miles recorded an out before walking Whitney Phillips, but quickly retired the next two Panthers to seal Georgia Southern’s first home win of 2012.
    Georgia State 1, Georgia Southern 0
    In Tuesday’s opening game, Georgia Southern couldn’t have gotten any less lucky. Sarah Purvis turned in a brilliant complete game effort, striking out nine and allowing only two hits, but took a 1-0 loss thanks to some unfortunate footwork by an umpire.
    Locked in a pitcher’s dual in the top of the third inning, Purvis allowed a walk to Carrie Williams, who then advanced to second on a sacrifice. With one out, Brenna Morrissey hit what appeared to be a routine grounder to second base, but GSU’s Hanna Ennis was obstructed by an umpire. The ball trickled into right field and Williams raced home to score the game’s only run.
    “There’s not a whole lot you can do about stuff like that,” Smith said. “It was a bad break, but I liked the way we handled it. We didn’t win that first game, but we stayed focused and came back strong in the second game.”
    The fluke single gave the Panthers their run, but Georgia State starter Alana Thomas made sure that it held up.
    Allen singled to left to lead off the first inning for the Eagles, but Thomas allowed just two more GSU hits the rest of the way and never had an Eagle runner advance past second base.
    Fogle led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, but Medlam came in to slam the door on the Eagles, recording the final six outs for the save.
    The Eagles take today off before travelling to Tampa Friday for a tournament hosted by the University of South Florida.
    Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.