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Courtesy: CAA
GSU's Lauren Jones


Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 05/13/2011
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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (May 13, 2011) - Senior Lauren Jones sent a three-run shot over the left field wall in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift second-seeded Georgia State to a 4-2 victory over top-seeded Hofstra in game six of the CAA Softball Championship on Friday at the Hofstra Softball Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. With the win, the Panthers (35-23) now force a game seven against the Pride (40-12) today at 2:30 p.m.

Jones went 1-for-3 with three RBI and freshman Jessica Clifton was 1-for-3 with an RBI in the win. Junior Jess Hirschbuhl went 1-for-3 with a RBI while rookie pinch hitter Jess Zeilman went 1-for-1 with an RBI in the losing effort.

Sophomore McCall Langford earned the win in relief (15-10), allowing two hits and one run (one earned) while walking one and striking out one in three innings of work. Junior Alana Thomas started the game for the Panthers, giving up four hits and one run (one earned) to go with a walk and a pair of strikeouts in four innings. Galati was credited with the loss, allowing four hits and three runs (three earned) while fanning five in 5.2 innings on the mound. Junior Erin Wade pitched 0.1 innings in relief, giving up one hit and one run (one earned).

The Pride looked to pounce in the first inning after sophomore Rachael Senatore reached on a fielding error by Jones. Senatore would advance to second on a well-placed sacrifice bunt by junior Michelle Lavagnino, but she would get no farther after consecutive groundouts by Hirschbuhl and senior Sara Michalowski.

Another Panther error put the Pride in position to strike in the top of the second frame. After sophomore Tessa Ziemba belted a leadoff single past a diving Whitney Phillips and through the right infield hole, Valentino reached on an error by catcher Maddy Stanton. With two on board, the Pride could not take advantage as junior Krista Thorn and senior Trisha Dreslinski flied and grounded out, respectively, to end the inning.

The Pride continued to have chances in the third after Lavagnino and Hirschbuhl unloaded for singles driven right up the middle into center field. Both batters advanced on a wild pitch by Thomas, who intentionally walked Michalowski to load the bases. Following Ziemba's foul out to Phillips, Galati stepped to the plate prepared to help her own cause, but she grounded out to second to leave all three runners stranded and her squad scoreless through three innings.

Junior pinch hitter Cassie Boese was the first Panther to get the best of Galati, doing so in the bottom of the third after she hammered a hit along the third base line and just beat Thorn's throw across the diamond to first. The Panthers' promising start to the frame was soon over, however, as Phillips popped out to Galati, Boese was tagged with a leaving early call and junior Megan Kallatsa was fanned by Galati for her third strikeout of the game.

After both squads went three-up and three-down in the fourth, Hofstra finally had its way in the top of the fifth. Senatore lined a hard hit through the right infield gap for a leadoff single and was quickly advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lavagnino. After she stole second, Senatore was then driven home on a Hirschbuhl sacrifice fly to give the Pride a 1-0 lead.

Galati fanned her fourth and fifth batters in the bottom of the frame to set things up for the Pride heading into the sixth. After rookie Tori Rocha came in to pinch run for Galati, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, she advanced to second on a sac bunt by Valentino. Another sacrifice bunt by Thorn sent Rocha to third, and she would cross the plate to put the Pride up, 2-0, two batters later when classmate and pinch hitter Jess Zeilman blooped a single to shallow left.

The Panthers struck back in a big way in the bottom of the sixth. Phillips looped a one-out single into left field for the squad's second hit off Galati and would advance to second a batter later after Sparks' groundout to Thorn at third. Clifton connected on the next at-bat for a single through the left side to score Phillips from second and cut the lead to 2-1. Sophomore Brenna Morrissey would step in next to plate a single to second base and put two on board for the Panthers for the first time of the afternoon. Jones would clear the bases with a deep shot over the left field wall to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead and the eventual win.

2011 CAA Softball Championship

Wednesday, May 11

Game 1: #1 Hofstra 9, #4 Delaware 0 (F/5)

Game 2: #2 Georgia State 3, #3 Towson 2 (F/12)

Thursday, May 12Game 3: #1 Hofstra 1, #2 Georgia State 0 (F)

Game 4: #3 Towson 5, #4 Delaware 0 (F)

Game 5: #2 Georgia State 3, #3 Towson 0 (F)

Friday, May 13 (championship round)

Game 6: #2 Georgia State 4, #1 Hofstra 2

Game 7: #1 Hofstra (40-12) vs. #2 Georgia State (35-23), 2:30 p.m.