Tuesday night's doubleheader between the Georgia Military College Bulldogs and the Fillies from ABAC did not disappoint when it came to excitement as the Bulldogs pulled off the sweep in two intense games. Whitley Ward and Jessica Owens led the Bulldogs offense, each hitting two home runs on the evening, and it took the entire pitching staff to beat ABAC 11-8 and 7-6, respectively.
The Bulldogs had opportunities in the opening game to run-rule the Fillies but never got that timely hit to put the game away, allowing the Fillies to fight back. The Fillies scored a single run in the first inning off an error by the Bulldog defense. The Bulldogs answered with two runs in the first inning as Makensey Sapp, and Brianna Painter reached on singles to get things started for the Bulldogs. A pitch hit Jessica Owens, Mckenzie Graves picked her first RBI of the day on a bases-loaded walk. Kinsley Goolsby hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the second Bulldog run. With two outs in the second inning, Sapp reached on a walk, and after stealing, the second base was driven home by Painter. Whitley Ward drove a double to left field, scoring Painter.
Jessica Owens hit her first home run of the day, a two-run blast, giving the Bulldogs a 6-1 lead. The Bulldogs added three additional runs in the fourth inning; Autumn Land led off with a walk and was followed up by a single by Sapp and a walk to Painter. The bases were loaded when Ward picked up another RBI with a sacrifice fly to right field. Sapp and Painter scored on a pass ball and error by the catcher. The Fillies picked up two runs in their half of the fifth inning and a single run in the sixth, pushing the score to 9-4. The Bulldogs scored two final runs in the sixth inning as Ward hit a solo home run to lead things off, followed up by back-to-back singles from Owens and Graves. A walk to Goolsby loaded the bases for the Bulldogs, and Caroline Hughes picked up her only RBI of the game on a fielder's choice to shortstop, scoring Owens. The score was 11-4 going into the top of the seventh inning. Starting pitcher Jana Shellhorse allowed four runs in the inning off of a hit by a pitch and three hits. Layla Barron came in to finish the game out, picking up her team-leading fourth save of the season. Shellhorse got the win, striking out four batters in six innings of working.
Game two began as a pitcher's duel as neither team scored until the fourth inning. The Fillies were first on the board with three runs in the fourth on a home run to centerfield. The Bulldogs bats finally woke up, and they immediately took the lead as they scored five runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Ward got things started with a double to left field, and Owens followed with a home run, her second on the day. Graves reached on a walk, followed by Goolsby, who reached on a fielder's choice. Hughes drove a single up the middle to load the bases with one out for Land; Graves scored as Land reached on a fielder's choice to left field. Sapp laced a double to right field, scoring Hughes and Land, giving the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead. Barron entered the game in relief of starting pitcher Beth Eddins. After a lead-off walk, the Fillies tied the game on another homerun. For the second time this game, the Bulldogs answered with Ward starting the rally, reaching on an infield single. After back-to-back flyouts to left field, Ward advanced to second on a throwing error by the Fillies. Goolsby reached on a single, advancing Ward to third, before eventually scoring on a single by Macy Poisal, giving the Bulldogs the lead by one. The Fillies created a rally of their own in the top of the sixth inning as they got the bases loaded with one out. Shellhorse entered the game in relief and was able to get a ground out to short and fly out to second to preserve the Bulldog's lead.
The Bulldogs went three up three down in the bottom of the sixth inning, keeping the score 7-6 for the Bulldogs going into the final inning. Shellhorse retired the first batter she faced before allowing a solo home run to tie the game 7-7; she struck out the next two batters. The Bulldogs needed to rally one more time, and once again, Ward faced that task. After getting behind and fouling off a few pitches, Ward sent us all home as she hit a line-drive home run to centerfield to walk it off for the Bulldogs. Shellhorse got her second win on the day.
"Those were some intense, fun, stressful games. Both teams fought hard, and I was proud of the way that we competed, especially after getting down in game two," commented Head Coach Ashley Bunn.
Georgia Military College will host East Georgia State College in a conference doubleheader on Thursday, April 29th. Games will be at 4:00 and 6:00 pm at Couch Field.