GULF SHORES, Ala. (February 4, 2017) – Taking on a pair of tough South Region teams to open their 2017 campaign, the Tars split their first two contests of the year. Rollins fell to West Florida to start the season before upsetting No. 23 Alabama-Huntsville to end opening day.
The Tars finished their first day of the Gulf Coast Invitational with a record of 1-1. The Argonauts and the Chargers both moved to 2-1 on the year.
Rollins scored first in both contests. Against West Florida the Tars could not hold on, and saw an inspired, bottom of the seventh, comeback fall just short, dropping the contest 11-10. Playing Alabama-Huntsville, Rollins fought back the Chargers attempts at a rally, and used some timely hitting, to secure the 8-2 victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
· Rollins jumped out to a lead with five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Sarah Harrison and Brianne Lint led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Grace Street walked, then with two outs Kacie Booth singled home Harrison and Lint. Hali Marshall was next up and she sent Booth and Street across the plate. Hailee Keisling doubled home Marshall for the fifth run of the frame.
· The Argonauts responded in the top of the fifth, scoring eight runs on six hits in the inning. Rhiannon Sassman led off the frame with a homerun. The sophomore also singled in a pair of runs, as West Florida batted around the lineup.
· Sassman played a role in the Argonauts three run sixth as well, singling with the bases loaded to score the first run. Junior Meghan Toney drove in a pair with single to left field, making the score 11-5
· The Tars mounted a furious comeback in their final two at bats. Harrison sent Marshall across the plate with a sacrifice fly to make the score 11-6, in the sixth inning. In the seventh, Booth registered her third RBI of the game, singling in Abigail Sexton. Booth then came around to score on a wild pitch. Rachel Minier homered, scoring Keisling to cut the Tars deficit to one, but that was as close as the Tars could come.
· Making her first start of the season in the circle, sophomore, Grace Street, remained calm, getting out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the first inning.
· The Tars jumped out to an early lead, scoring twice in the bottom of the first. Chelsea Reed singled through the left side scoring Sarah Harrison and Hailee Keisling.
· The Chargers tied the score at 2-2 with Kaitlyn Bannister’s two run homerun.
· Street singled home Harrison to give the Tars the lead back in the bottom of the third. Abigail Sexton then tripled to right field to extend the Tars lead to 4-2 heading into the fourth.
· Rollins blew the game open in the bottom of the fourth. The Tars loaded the bases with no outs, before Brianne Lint cleared the base paths with a double. Reed then stepped into the batter’s box, recording a RBI groundout, pushing the score to 8-2.
· Kacie Booth (SS) – 2-4, 3 RBI, 2 Runs
· Rhiannon Sassman (SS) – 3-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 Runs
· Grace Street – 3 runs, 3 earned, 4 strikeouts, 0 walk, 3.1 IP
· Becca Taylor – W, 5 runs, 5 earned, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk, 4.1 IP
· Brianne Lint (2B) – 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI, 1 Run
· Kaitlyn Bannister (3B) – 1-2, HR, 2 RBI, 1 Run
· Grace Street – W, CG, 2 Runs, 1 Earned Run, 1 SO
· Tyler Harrison – L, 6 Runs, 4 Earned Runs, 3 SO, 3.0 IP
· The Tars fall to 5-5 all time against West Florida.
· With her RBI double, in the fourth inning, against West Florida, Hailee Keisling moved into a tie for seventh place on the all-time Rollins doubles list with 34.
· Rollins had not lost a season opener since 2002 against West Alabama.
· The Tars improve to 6-12 all time against Alabama-Huntsville.
The Gulf Coast Invitational continues tomorrow, Sunday, February 5. Rollins takes on defending the National Champions, No.1 North Alabama at 10:00 a.m. before concluding the event against Delta State 12:30 p.m.
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