Moss gem saves GCAA split for Bulldog softball

Apr. 20—It would seem that being in first place in the GCAA is a curse for Georgia Military College softball.

For the second Wednesday in a row, Ashley Bunn and the Bulldogs hosted a GCAA doubleheader at Couch Field as the conference leader. However, they dropped three of those four contests. And still, GMC remained in first place after the recent split with Gordon State College, which had a winning streak of nine in row snapped by the pitching of Bulldog sophomore Addie Moss.

Gordon State's ninth straight win came in Wednesday's opener at Couch Field by a final of 5-2. The defending GCAA tournament champions got on the scoreboard with two runs in the first inning and, and the Bulldogs couldn't draw even.

On to Game 2, where Moss pitched her fourth shutout in her last six starts in the circle. Both RBI in the 2-0 win were on two-out singles by Isabella Owens.

GMC improved to 24-16 overall and 15-5 in the conference. Gordon State went to 13-5 in the league. ABAC, which swept the Bulldogs in Milledgeville on April 10 but then lost to the Highlanders, stands at 14-6. GMC played at Andrew College Friday while Gordon State is at East Georgia today (April 20).

Reign Williams was responsible for both of GMC's runs in the first game, and in both cases she did not hit the softball past the infield. In fact, some of the Highlander scoring involved small-ball execution. The games also featured some 'base-running blunders,' or heads-up plays to retire baserunners right after they reached on hits.

Hailey Daughtry took the Game 1 loss in the GMC circle. She was victimized by her two walks in the top of the first inning. Though she issued a free pass to Emma Smith to start the turn, Daughtry was on the verge of leaving Smith stranded on third base. That's when Skyler Evans walked.

Emmalyn Gable was next and dropped a ball into shallow left field. Left fielder Emma Riner was inches away from at catch running in, but the ball got away allowing Smith and Evans to score.

The Bulldogs got one run back in the bottom of the first as Karleigh Taylor led off with a single up the middle. Her teammates advanced her to third base, and then Williams — with two outs — tapped the ball where the Highlander catcher had to field it on her knees. The receiver could not get up in time for a throw, and Taylor scored.

Gordon State scored two more in the top of the second, an inning that also began with a leadoff walk. The next two Highlander hitters, Abby Arnold and Kendall Rowlands, put down bunts without GMC getting any outs. On a 3-2 pitch, Madi Neal singled for two RBI. Daughtry escaped further damage striking out Evans to retire the side.

In all, four of the Highlander runs reached base via the walk. That's how Rowlands got on base with one out in the fourth. She scored on a two-out single by Allie McGee that hit off the third-base bag.

The Bulldogs had nine hits off the pitching combination of Katelyn Munoz and Taylor Beigle. Infielder Hudson Smith, who won a GCAA Player of the Week honor for her work when her team swept Gordon State on the road March 24, had three singles. Riner had two hits, including a single to start the home fifth when Beigle entered the game.

Smith also singled to help load the bases, and Riner scored the game's final run when Williams hit into a fielder's choice.

Riner would later lead off the seventh inning with a double, but the Highlanders turned a line-drive from Taylor into a double play.

Moss won for the 12th time in her sophomore season throwing a five-hitter with eight strikeouts and no walks in Game 2. Three of the Gordon State hits came in the first two innings. Evans had the only extra-base hit, a double in the fourth inning, but she was tagged out trying to advance to third base.on a bunt.

GMC had four hits but no runs through three innings, one of the hits being a double from Taylor who was then tagged out overunning the base.

Shortstop Kaitlyn Hallman scored both the second-game runs as she got on second base leading off two innings. Her bunt single to start the home fourth brought with it a throwing error. She was still on second base with two outs when Owens flared a single to left.

The Highlanders used the same two pitchers in Game 1, but Beigle didn't enter until the sixth. She was greeted with a Hallman double to left. Hallman went to third base on a delayed steal, but still stood there with two down. That's when Owens grounded a single through a hole to left field.