SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – For the second time in the Gulf South Conference Tournament, the West Florida softball team led 1-0 going into the seventh inning. And for the second time, the Argos allowed a team to come from behind, as Delta State eliminated UWF with a 5-1 win on Tuesday. UWF fell to 33-24 with the loss, while the Lady Statesmen improved to 28-30.
Junior Jordan Ratliff (Petersburg, Mich./Owens CC) pitched six strong innings for the Argonauts, shutting out DSU heading into the seventh. Ratliff took the loss to fall to 8-10 on the year. Brittany Gonzales (15-10) picked up the win for Delta State, allowing one run in seven innings.
Ratliff and Gonzales battled in a pitchers’ duel through the first three innings, keeping a scoreless tie going into the fourth. The Argos broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth on senior first baseman Crystal Thompson’s (Bonifay, Fla./Gulf Coast CC) solo home run over the left field wall.
DSU nearly tied the game in the sixth, but the Argos were able to keep them off the board thanks a spectacular defensive play. With runners at first and second with two out, third baseman Brook Cline singled through the left side and the runner was sent home. Senior left fielder Kaley Kania (Pensacola, Fla./Tate HS) picked up the ball and made a strong throw home, retiring the potential tying run at the plate.
The Lady Statesmen finally got on the board in the seventh, as second baseman Kendall Sizemore singled to lead off the inning and pinch hitter Caroline Womack tripled off the center field wall to tie the game. DSU then added four more runs to take a 5-1 lead. The Argos loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but pinch hitter Jenna Belser (Chipley, Fla./Holmes County HS) was retired to end the game.
The selections to the NCAA South Regional will be announced in a selection show online at NCAA.com on Monday, April 30 at 9 a.m. CT. The Argos were ranked No. 6 in the most recent NCAA South Region rankings, and eight teams, including three automatic qualifying conference champions, will earn bids to the regional.
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