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Claflin softball vs. Fort Valley State

The Lady Panthers of Claflin University celebrate a first inning homerun hit by Kayla Cato (24). The Lady Panthers recorded wins in both games on Sunday and swept the series against Fort Valley State.

The Claflin University softball team outscored Fort Valley State University (FVSU) 26-8 over three games as they swept the Lady Wildcats in a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) series. The Lady Panthers defeated FVSU 8-1 on Friday and 8-0 and 10-7 in a doubleheader on Sunday.

 The wins pushes Claflin's record to 17-24 overall and 9-4 in the SIAC. FVSU, which saw their nine-game win streak snapped on Friday, falls to 15-12 overall and 5-8 in the SIAC.

 Tiaria Norman (12-12) picked up the wins in all three contests while Courtney Walker (15-12) was the losing pitcher in all three games.

In the doubleheader on Sunday, Claflin recorded 11 hits including one homerun in game one as they defeated FVSU 8-0 in five innings. The Lady Panthers scored seven of its eight runs in the first inning.

Kayla Cato led off the bottom of the first inning with a homerun to put Claflin ahead 1-0. With one out and two on Chelise Morman hit a two RBI single to center field to bring in Norman and Jada Ames for the 3-0 lead.

With two outs and one on Mercedes Howze reached base via a drop fly by FVSU left fielder. The error also allowed Morman to score the Lady Panthers fourth run of the inning.

The error was followed by an RBI single by Jamelah Thomas, a single through the right side, and a two RBI double by Cato for Claflin seventh run of the inning.

The inning ended with a called third strike on LaKaylin Lee.

After the first inning, both defenses played solid over the next three innings.

FVSU had opportunities to score in the fifth but left stranded runners on the corners in their half of the inning. The Lady Panthers put one run up in the fifth for the 8-0 win.

Cato finished the game with two hits (a double and homerun) and three RBIs. Darnesha Sampson and Robinson had two hits apiece for Claflin.

Game two started much the same for Claflin, as they used six hits with one FVSU error to score eight runs in the bottom of the first.

 FVSU scored one run off two hits in the top of the third to cut the deficit to seven, but Claflin scored two runs it their half of the inning to increase the lead nine, 10-1.

 Claflin appeared to be headed for another five-inning win, but FVSU offense came to life in the top of the fourth.

After a pitching change by the Lady Panthers bringing in Yemaya Rich, the Lady Wildcats erupted for six runs in the inning to close the gap to three, 10-7 but that would be as close as they would get.

 Destiny McIntyre, who pinch hit for Armani Alderman, led off the inning with a single through the right side. Brianna Jackson then reached base on a throwing error by Claflin third baseman which allowed Alderman, who returned to the game, to advance to third. With the bases loaded, Marlayz Crutchfield singled to left field to score Alderman and advance the other runners keeping the bases loaded.

 The Lady Wildcats scored five additional runs before another pitching change by Claflin bringing in Shaquailla German.

 German struck out the next batter, Keteria Loney, to end the inning.

 Claflin's defense held strong over the final two innings in pulling out the three run win.

 Lee had two hits and Cato crossed the plate three times to lead Claflin in the win.

 In Friday's series opener, Claflin scored five runs in the bottom of the third to take a commanding 5-1 lead.

 The Lady Panthers had five of their nine hits in that inning, including two of three homeruns.

 Claflin scored runs in two of the next three innings, one in the third and two in the sixth, en route to a seven-run victory.

 Morman finished the contest with three hits, one run and two RBIs. Cato had two hits, both homeruns, and two RBIs in the win.

 Claflin will return to action Saturday and Sunday when they host Clark Atlanta University in a SIAC East Division contest. Saturday’s doubleheader will be senior day for the Lady Panthers.

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