Decatur, Ala. – The College of Coastal Georgia women's softball team advanced to play on Saturday at the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament with a 6-0 victory here Friday evening over Faulkner.
The fourth-seeded Mariners (35-20) lost earlier Friday to No. 2-ranked and top-seeded Brenau to fall into the elimination bracket.
Now assured of at least a fourth-place finish, the Mariners will play third-seeded Mobile at 10 a.m. Saturday in another elimination game. The winner will advance to play William Carey for a spot in the tournament finals. Brenau is already in the championship after a 2-1 win over William Carey late Friday night.
"Our kids are playing well," said Coastal Georgia coach Mike Minick. "We hit the ball pretty well in both games today, but just left too many on base against Brenau.
"Mobile is going to be tough. They're playing well. They lost a heartbreaker in extra innings to William Carey and came back with a big win over Bethel."
Mobile, which is ranked No. 20, defeated the Mariners 1-0 and 2-0 in Mobile on March 25 when the teams met during the regular season. The Rams opened the tournament Thursday with a 2-1 win over Blue Mountain before falling 3-2 in eight innings to second-seeded and seventh-ranked William Carey on Friday. The Rams blanked Bethel 8-0 late Friday to stay alive in the tournament.
The Mariners have now beaten Faulkner five times in six games between the teams this season. Coastal Georgia had already beaten the fifth-seeded Eagles 3-1 on Thursday in the tournament opener for both teams. But Faulkner stayed alive to get a second tournament matchup with the Mariners with victories over Brewton-Parker and Middle Georgia earlier on Friday.
Alt started and worked the first three innings for the Mariners, who scored three runs in the first and two more in the second to hold a 5-0 advantage after three frames. Alt, who got the win, struck out one and walked three.
Boulineau would pitch the final four innings for the Mariners. She fanned six and walked five.
"That was an awesome job by Paige and Chloe," Minick said. "But, they did walk too many batters and we had to sweat through too many innings."
The Mariners banged out nine hits against Faulkner pitchers Tori Davis, who started and left in the third, and Caitlin Perry, who pitched the rest of the way for the Eagles. Davis took the loss.
Savannah Money had two hits in four at-bats for the Mariners in her usual leadoff spot. Taylor Lee, Olivia Husted, Reilly Oliver, Ceejay Ham, Kensey Solomon, Jesi Garrett and Alt all hit safely for the Mariners.
Ham drove in three of Coastal Georgia's six runs while Husted and Oliver drove in a run each.
The Mariners took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, getting an RBI-single from Husted, a sacrifice fly from Oliver to score a run and a single by Ham that plated the third run.
The Mariners added two more runs in the third on an error by the Eagles after loading the bases. Alt doubled with one out before Katie Burns reached on a walk and Oliver singled to shallow center to fill the bases. Ham then reached on the error with two runs coming home on the play to give the Mariners their 5-0 lead.
Coastal Georgia added another run in the fourth. Money reached on a one-out single before Lee also singled with Money advancing to third. The Mariners would then pull off a double-steal as Lee swiped second and Money raced home with the team's sixth run.
The Eagles did load the bases on an error, hit batsmen and a walk. But with one out, Boulineau recorded the last two outs on flyballs with the last one getting caught by a diving Oliver in center field to save the no-hitter and seal the win.
In the loss to Brenau, the Mariners saw the Golden Tigers take an early 3-0 lead with three runs in the second inning. The Mariners scored in the top of the third to make it 3-1 but Brenau stretched its lead to 5-1 with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Coastal Georgia added a run in its last at-bat to make for the final score.
Coastal Georgia did get eight hits off Brenau's Kathleen Daniel, the SSAC Player of the Year who has been dominant all season. However, the Mariners stranded 12 runners on base in the loss.
Daniel earned the win for the Tigers going the distance while striking out seven and walking two.
Dawn Stewart took the loss for the Mariners. She worked the first four innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits while striking out one. Boulineau worked the final two innings for the Mariners, striking out three while not giving up a hit.
Husted had two hits in three trips for the Mariners and scored both Coastal Georgia runs. Alt was 2-for-4 with an RBI-double. Money, Lee, Burns and Ham also hit safely in the loss. Katie McGinnis drove in Coastal Georgia's run in the seventh on a fielder's choice play.