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Late blast gives Owls comeback victory over in-state rival

by David Almeda

A comeback victory and a strong pitching performance lifted KSU’s softball team over the .500 mark Saturday, stunning Georgia State 7-6 and blanking Stony Brook 4-0 to end their slate of games at the Georgia Tech-Kennesaw State Crossover.

Down five runs in the final inning against GSU, the Owls (6-5) began to rally, coming to within three at 6-3 before Megan Veringa stepped to the plate and crushed a two out grand slam to give the KSU a late 7-6 lead, and eventually the win.

“I’m proud of the kids for staying in the game and not giving up and staying in the fight,” head coach Wes Holly, Jr. said. “I was really proud that they stepped up when they had a big chance. It’s the first big step the offense has really taken this year.”

The Owls started their day off well. Against Stony Brook, KSU got on the board in the second inning with an RBI single from Taylor Denton that scored Sara Sikes. The Owls extended their lead in the fifth on a two out Courtney Sutter triple off the right field wall that scored Angie Dascoli from first.

KSU would score two more times in the sixth to earn the eventual 4-0 win. Amanda Henderson went the distance for the Owls, pitching a complete game, three hit shutout while striking out three.

Against GSU, the Owls dug themselves into a hole early. The Panthers scored one run  in the first and another in the third to give themselves a 2-0 lead. In the top of the fourth, Sikes singled to right center, and scored on a double from Bianca Durant to cut the lead to one.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, GSU broke the game open, scoring four runs on four straight hits, giving them a comfortable 6-1 lead.

With a seemingly insurmountable lead heading into the last inning, the Owls’ bats began to heat up. Denton lead off the inning with a single to center field. After a Caitlin Fowler walk, KSU had two runners on. Later, with one out away from defeat, the Owls began to inch closer. Back to back RBI singles from Sutter and Sikes tightened the score to 6-3. A GSU error allowed Durant to reach first, loading the bases and keeping the Owls alive. Veringa did the rest with her second bomb of the year to give the Owls a 7-6 lead. Amanda Henderson shut down the Panthers in the next half inning to earn her second win of the day and give KSU an improbable win.

“I’m just happy we’re on a winning streak now,” Veringa said. “We’ve been really working on trying to stay up in the game throughout the whole game. And we did it real well today.”

The Owls will now travel to Florida to take part in the USF-Under Armor Invitational over the weekend.