ALBANY, Ga. (February 10, 2012) - Senior Hope Bitzer's performance in both the circle and in the batter's box in game one stole the show on a day that seemed like the Tars' bats came alive even before they stepped off the bus on Albany State's campus. Rollins collected a total of 31 hits in a double header sweep of Albany State, 11-0 and 21-1 respectively.
Bitzer accomplished not one, but two of the most infrequent feats in the sport of softball in game one Friday afternoon when she threw a five inning no-hitter and hit for the cycle.
Bitzer's teammates came out determined to make it easy on the senior pitcher when they exploded for five runs in the top half of the first inning off of the Lady Rams starter Chelsea Hicks. After a leadoff walk by first basemen Aimee Halpin, senior Monica Meadows laced a double which scored Halpin all the way from first to start the hit parade.
Senior Krista Rodden followed the Meadows double with an RBI double of her own. Bitzer then, not to be outdone, tripled to deep right field to make it 3-0 Tars in the first with nobody out. The Tars would add two more in the frame on a Tara Turner RBI single and a Meredith Foster double that scored senior Lawna Hunter after she had reached earlier in the inning on an error.
Rollins added to the lead with one more in the third and three more in the fourth, highlighted by a Bitzer two run bomb.
The Tars weren't done yet as they would add two more in the top half of the fifth with RBI's from Rodden and Bitzer. Bitzer's RBI single would complete her cycle after as she had tripled in the first, doubled in the second, and homered in the fourth.
Bitzer (2-1) earned her second win of the season as she went five innings, giving up no runs on no hits while striking out 10. Albany State's lone base runner came on dropped third strike in the bottom of the first, which was the only thing that kept her from a perfect game. The no-hitter was her second of her Rollins career. Chelsea Hicks took the loss for the Lady Rams, allowing 11 runs, 10 earned, in five innings pitched.
It was much of the same for Rollins in game two. Lady Rams pitcher, Shaywona Marks, held the Tars scoreless in the first but that was just the calm before the storm.
Rollins then erupted in the second started with a solo shot by Foster followed by back to back doubles from shortstop Shelby Walters and third baseman Hilary Brown. A Halpin single, Meadows walk, and a Rodden sacrifice fly later the Tars were out to another three run lead.
But the inning wasn't over yet as Bitzer sent her second big fly of the day over the center field fence, scoring Halpin and Meadows to make it 6-0.
The Tars got it started up again in the fourth where they sent 15 batters to the plate, scoring nine runs on six hits. Walters had two hits in the inning with a single and a RBI double while Foster had a base clearing double with the bases loaded.
After another scoreless inning from Albany State in the bottom of the third, Rollins decided a 15 run lead wasn't enough and added six more in the fourth. Foster added to her already spectacular afternoon with another RBI double in the inning and Walters earned her fourth hit of the afternoon with a two RBI single.
The Rams finally got on the board in the bottom half of the fifth on an RBI single from Hicks that scored center fielder Adrienne Morris after Morris reached on an error.
But that was all the offense Albany State could produce all afternoon as freshman Taylor McGowan (1-0) shut them down earning her first win of her career. McGowan went the full five innings while giving up just one run, zero earned, on four hits.
Rollins will be back in action Sunday, Feb. 12 when they travel to Americas, Ga. to take on Georgia Southwestern in a double header. Game one is set to start at 12:30pm. Fans can follow along on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.