Softball defense leads to victory over Eagles
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The Warhawks edged in-conference foe Georgia Southern 3-0 in a defensive showdown. This win brings the Warhawks record to 16-9 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Defense was the name of the game Friday night, and the Warhawks executed it perfectly behind the outstanding play of pitcher Melanie Coyne. In the first inning, Georgia Southern’s right fielder, Mekhia Freeman, blasted a triple to center field with only one out. Coyne wouldn’t let that faze her as she struck out the next two batters.
What the Eagles didn’t know, was that Freeman’s triple was the closest they would come to scoring against the Warhawks in the game. Coyne finished the first inning with three strikeouts.
With ULM up to bat, the Warhawks aimed to strike early. Right fielder Sami Billeaudeau was walked and would steal second base to put her in scoring position. Later in the inning, shortstop Jayden Mount was up to bat when she was hit by a pitch. This would put two ULM runners on base.
Not only did Coyne start off with hot pitching, she also came ready to hit the ball at the plate. After the walk and stolen base, Coyne hit a single to bring in the first run of the game. The Warhawks also scored with Mount off an error by Georgia Southern.
The stage was then set for the defense for the rest of the game. Coyne finished a great game with seven strikeouts. If Georgia Southern did find the ball with their bats, then Coyne’s teammates had her back in the field. GSU finished the game with only four hits.
“I have been blessed with a great team,” Coyne said. “It makes me feel so calm and loose to have a defense like that out on the field… It’s a great environment to pitch in.”
The only other scoring play of the game also came off of Coyne’s bat in the sixth inning when she a hit a solo homerun to left field bringing the game to a score of 3-0 which would eventually become the final.
“See ball, hit ball,” is what Melanie had to say about the homerun. “I saw the ball and I just hacked at it, and it just went,” Coyne said.
After the game, head coach Corey Lyon talked about the outstanding performance by his ace pitcher, both offensively and defensively.
“Mel has been awesome all year,” Lyon said, “We know going into the game that if we got two or three runs, it would be enough to win the game. Super proud of the way the girls played defense. We made plays. We shut it down.”
Looking ahead, the Warhawks will travel to Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday before returning home to host another three-game series against Texas State. The Sun Belt Conference showdown will start on Saturday, March 25 at 1 p.m.