Brunswick, Ga. – The College of Coastal Georgia women's softball team is bound for the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament next week.
Needing two wins to clinch the final spot in the tournament, the Mariners pulled off the sweep of Brewton-Parker Saturday afternoon at the Coastal Georgia Softball Field by taking the opening game 8-2 and then winning the second contest 5-0.
With the wins, the Mariners (21-21 overall, 5-15 SSAC) finished one game ahead of the Barons (14-31, 4-15) in the league standings to clinch the final spot in the conference tournament which opens Thursday in Montgomery, Ala. Coastal Georgia will be making its second appearance in the tournament after qualifying for the first time last season.
"I'm just proud of the girls," said Coastal Georgia coach Mike Minick. "We've lost a lot of close games this year, but they deserve to play in the conference tournament. We just played really solid softball today."
The Mariners got two stellar performances in the circle from junior Dawn Stewart who earned the wins in both games while allowing just two runs over the combined 14 innings.
In the opener, Stewart held the Barons to just two hits while striking out five and walking none over seven innings. Brewton Parker's only runs came in the fourth on a two-run homer by Lauren Clinton which tied the game at 2-2.
In Game 2, Stewart again went the distance, blanking the Barons on the scoreboard while allowing five hits, striking out one and walking one as the Mariners played error-free ball behind her for the second game in a row.
Coastal Georgia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opener on a pair of solo homers by Olivia Husted in the first and Taylor Horne in the second before Clinton's homer pulled the Barons even in the fourth.
The Mariners would put up a four-spot in the fifth to go up 6-2 before adding two more runs in the sixth to make for the final score.
In the fifth, the Mariners started a two-out rally to score all four runs. Reilly Oliver doubled to start the uprising and Husted followed with her second homer of the game to left-center. The Mariners then got back-to-back doubles by Katie Warren and Taylor Horne which led to a pitching change for the visitors. Katie Burns would single to score Horne with the fourth run before the Barons could end the inning.
In the sixth, the Mariners also scored twice with two outs. Husted brought home Sutton Appling who reached on a single with her third hit of the game before Warren singled in Oliver who also had reached earlier on a single.
Coastal Georgia finished with 13 hits. Husted and Warren were both 3-for-4 with Husted driving in four runs. Her two homers gave her eight for the season which is a new team single-season record. Warren had seven coming into the day to tie the old record.
Horne and Oliver both had two hits each. Appling, Burns and Kierstan Cox all hit safely also.
The second game was delayed for 42 minutes in the top of the sixth due to lightning with the Mariners already owning their 5-0 lead. The stoppage didn't stop Stewart from closing out the Barons as she returned to finish off the shutout.
While Stewart was blanking the Barons, the Mariners scored a single run in the third on a throwing error by Brewton-Parker before pushing four runs across the plate in the fourth on a solo homer by Cox to deep left before also getting RBI-singles from Oliver, Husted and Warren.
The Mariners had nine hits in the second game as all nine batters had a hit apiece.
Luana Imamura was the losing pitcher for the Barons in the opener. Taylor Douglass took the pitching loss in the second game.
Before Saturday's first game the Mariners honored their two seniors – Appling and Warren – in a Senior Day ceremony on the field.