GREENVILLE, S.C. — Georgia Southern Softball took care of business on Sunday afternoon, defeating Furman twice to clinch the Eagles’ second ever Southern Conference Championship and first since 1996. GSU took the opener 4-2 and tossed a shutout for a 2-0 win in the regular season finale. The Eagles finish the regular season with a school record 38-17 overall record with a 22-2 mark in conference play.
"We played as a team all year and that’s what you have to do to win championships," said Head Coach Annie Smith. "The team has worked hard all season and they deserve this. We’ve got a little bit of time to enjoy it, but we’ve got more work to do this week up in Boone at the SoCon Tournament."
The Eagles got the first game off to a good start in the first inning with a run of a hit and two Furman errors. Mackenzie Williams’ single up the middle sent Hanna Ennis in for the opening run of the game and a 1-0 GSU advantage.
In the third inning, Furman loaded the bases on starting pitcher Allie Miles with one out in the frame. She worked out of the jam, getting a line out to short and an inning ending strikeout to preserve the 1-0 Georgia Southern advantage going into the fourth frame.
Furman got on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run from Ambree Muller. The Paladins added another run with a double to left that was just out of the reach of Alexa Lewis, giving Furman a 2-1 lead entering the top of the sixth.
Marie Fogle ensured the game didn’t stay level long as she stroked her ninth home run of the season to straight-away centerfield. The shot came just one pitch after Fogle hit a towering shot down the left field line. Later in the sixth inning, GSU got two runners in scoring position with one out, setting the table for Tabby Douberley to hit a double down the left field line which scored a pair of runners for a 4-2 Eagle lead.
Furman put the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh, but Miles got the final two outs of the inning to earn her seventh win of the season. She stuck out nine and saw her consecutive innings without a run go to 24.2 innings before Muller’s home run.
The Eagles got a leadoff triple from Lewis in the first inning of Game Two, but were unable to plate her from 60 feet. An inning later, the Eagles got a leadoff double from Andrea Tarashuk, her fourth double of the series. After an infield ground ball moved her to third, Douberley laced a ball to the gap in left, scoring Tarashuk. Douberley scampered to third on her second career triple. Lexi Allen hit a ball 190 feet down the left field line, scoring Douberley on the play, giving GSU a 2-0 lead in the second.
The runs proved to be enough for the Eagles to clinch the regular season conference crown. Sarah Purvis allowed four hits on the afternoon, but struck out seven batters to cap the regular season off with a shutout victory.
The Eagles open the SoCon Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. in Boone, N.C. GSU faces either Furman or Samford, who square off in the tournament's play-in game at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.