VALDOSTA, Ga. (May 5, 2012) - Not only do the fourth-seeded Tars live to play another day, but they get the opportunity to play for a South Regional Championship Sunday after back to back wins Saturday evening while staring elimination in the eye. After ending Miles College's season with a 6-2 victory in game one of the day, Rollins downed fifth-seeded Alabama-Huntsville, 4-2, in one of the most exciting softball games in recent Rollins history.
The night cap included a triple play, a new record for career hits, a new record for career doubles, as well as a home run robbery to leave the crowd of over 230 at the Valdosta State Softball complex, many of those being Rollins fans who made the trip, still grasping for breath.
Serving as the visiting team in game two, it was the Tars who jumped out to the early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the second. Charger pitcher Whitney Gilbert recorded two quick outs before surrendering a single to senior Meredith Foster to spark the Rollins rally.
Sophomore Veronica Alred would then reach on a fielder's choice as Foster beat the throw to second to keep the inning alive.
With runners on first and second, sophomore Hilary Brown sent the 2-1 delivery from Gilbert down the line in right to score Foster; Alred would advance to second on the play.
The score would remain 2-0 in favor of Rollins until the fourth. UAH put runners on second and third with two outs, bringing Mallory McNeal to the plate. McNeal answered the call, sending a long fly ball over left fielder Foster's head to score two and tie the score, 2-2.
It didn't take long for Rollins to regain the lead, scoring one in the top of the fifth courtesy an RBI double by senior Monica Meadows. The double tied Meadows with assistant coach Christine Roser's for the career record of 254 hits as well as extended her already career leading doubles mark to 61.
The Chargers threatened again in their half of the inning. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Kathryn Whitlock sent a sinking line drive towards second. Senior second baseman Krista Rodden made a lunging stab and alertly gathered herself in time to force both runners for the 4-5-3 triple play. It was the first triple play recorded in Rollins history.
The momentum would carry into the seventh when the Tars added some insurance. After tying the hit record in fifth, Meadows took over the career mark in electrifying fashion, sending the 1-2 pitch from Gilbert just inside the pole in left for the solo homerun to extend the lead to 4-2. It was her tenth of the season.
But Meadows wasn't done stealing spotlight. Kellie Johnson led off the UAH seventh, sending a deep fly ball toward the fence in center. With her back against the wall, Meadows reached up and plucked the ball out of the air just as it was about to carry over fence, robbing Johnson of the solo homerun to rid the Chargers of any comeback thoughts.
Senior Hope Bitzer, who came on in relief in the fifth, retired the final two batters to secure the win and Rollns' place in the Regional Championship game.
With the win, Rollins improves to 42-10 on the year and UAH ends their season with a 42-16 record.
Sophomore Amye McIntyre (15-4) was credited with the win, giving up two runs on five hits in four innings of work. Bitzer earned her third save of the year, giving up no runs in three innings of relief.
Meadows went 2-4 with two RBI to go along with one run scored.
Rollins will now take on top-seeded Valdosta State Sunday afternoon with the Regional Championship on the line. Game time is set for 1pm with game two to follow at 3:30pm if necessary. Fans can follow along with all the action live on the Tars Sports Network on RollinsSports.com.