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Softball: Sizemore's walk-off gives LWC the split against Shawnee State

Sometimes it's not about how you start, it's how you finish, and such was the case for Za'Kiya Sizemore and the Lindsey Wilson softball team on Friday afternoon as the Blue Raiders picked up a two-game split with Shawnee State University (OH).

Sizemore finished the day 4-for-9 from the plate, but what is impressive is the fact that the fifth-year senior started 0-for-4, then rallied off four hits over her next five at-bats, including the walk-off home run in game two to give the local's their third conference win of the week.

All told, four Blue Raiders ended up with three or more hits on the day.

Game One | Shawnee State 11, Lindsey Wilson 9
The first edition of Friday's twin bill racked up 20 runs on 27 total hits, and while the Blue Raiders posted season-highs of their own for team hits and batting average, they were unable to fend off the Bears in the final innings.

A four-run first inning gave Lindsey Wilson a promising start. Desiree Chang led off with a first-pitch single up the middle and was immediately advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sizemore. Subsequent back-to-back hits by Alexis Garayzar and Tanlee Hudgins plated Chang to open the scoring, then a walk to Cheyenne Sandoval loaded the bases for Kelsie Bostock. With one out on the board, the Blue Raiders' catcher lined a bases-clearing double into center field to push the early advantage to 4-0.

Shawnee State did not back down easily, however, and proceeded to score three runs in the second inning and another two in the top half of the fourth to move ahead, 5-4.

In the bottom leg of the fourth, Tanlee Hudgins got the Blue Raiders back in the driver's seat with her second home run of the week, sneaking a two-run shot over the fence in right-center field on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Then, in the fifth inning, Garayzar notched her third hit of the game to bring across Brylee Pickerell and extend Lindsey Wilson's lead to 7-5.

The Bears tacked on a pair of runs in their penultimate trip to the plate, but an RBI-single from Madyson Jones to answer restored the Blue Raiders' lead at 8-7 heading into the seventh.

In that seventh frame, the hosts caught themselves in a series of untimely errors, allowing Shawnee State to post a crooked four-piece and take an 11-8 scoreline into the last half-inning, in which a solo home run from Sizemore was all the hosts could manage.

Three different pitchers took the circle for Lindsey Wilson in game one. Abigail Cruz started and went four complete innings with two strikeouts and two earned runs allowed, then Savannah Robbins checked in and worked through two innings before Olivia Franceschi closed out.

Game Two | Lindsey Wilson 6, Shawnee State 5
The Blue Raiders were tasked with fighting from behind again in game two, and this time around they would be successful in their mission.

After Shawnee State had plated four runs in the top of the sixth inning to build a 5-2 lead, Lindsey Wilson began chipping away in the following half-inning.

Sizemore got the gears grinding with a lead-off single, then was matched by Garayzar with a base-hit of her own. With pinch-runner Natalie Shaw into the game for Garayzar, Hudgins kept the momentum flowing with in infield crack off the glove of the Bears' shortstop to juice the bases for Sandoval. The Blue Raiders' first baseman wasted no time leaving her mark with a ripper up the middle to bring home Shaw and Sizemore to trim the deficit down, to 5-4.

In what was ultimately the final inning, relief pitcher Robbins and the defense behind her limited Shawnee State to a single base runner in the top half, keeping the offense's hopes alive for the bottom leg.

The Bears secured two quick outs to push the home side to the brink, but Chang utilized her speed off an infield dribbler to the right side, setting the script for Sizemore.

After falling behind 0-2 off of consecutive foul balls, Sizemore locked in and skied a deep fly ball to straight-away center into the Columbia night, capping off a dramatic come-from-behind victory to snap a three-game skid.

On the rubber, Robbins collected her third win of the year to improve to 3-0. The freshman went 1.2 innings and surrendered just one hit. Her effort came in relief of fellow first-year Grace Adams, who got the start and went 5.1 innings with six hits allowed and two strikeouts.

Lindsey Wilson and Shawnee State will conclude their three-game series on Saturday afternoon at Marilyn D. Sparks Park. The first pitch is slated for 12 p.m. CST.

This story was posted on 2023-03-11 09:48:54
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