03/26/09 — Saints fend-off Dawgs in nine innings

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Saints fend-off Dawgs in nine innings

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 26, 2009 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne put the game-winning run on base in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings on Wednesday evening.

Princeton's defense denied the Saints each time.

The fourth attempt ended in different fashion.

Southern Wayne loaded the bases and Christina Williams supplied a ninth-inning, walk-off single to seal a 4-3, non-conference triumph over the Bulldawgs. The Saints (7-1 overall) remained unbeaten in three games decided by one run this season.

"We wanted to score sooner, but you'll take it when you can get it," said second-year Southern Wayne coach Michael Wiggs. "Princeton is a good ballclub, well-coached ... play good, sound ball and I'm glad their on our own schedule.

"I'm looking forward to playing them again."

Freshman Madison Davis and senior Lauren Darden, two right-handed hurlers, combined on a six-hitter inside the circle for the Saints. Davis permitted two hits and logged three strikeouts, but received a no-decision.

Darden (6-1) surrendered three earned runs on four hits and posted 10 strikeouts to grab the win. An all-conference performer, Darden has 78 strikeouts this season.

Bulldawgs pitcher Traci Bridgers endured the loss. The right-hander yielded four runs (one earned) on eight hits and collected six strikeouts in a complete-game performance.

Southern Wayne led 3-0 after five innings. Morgan Davis delivered a first-inning, RBI single. Kayla Gracyk stroked a fifth-inning, RBI single and the Saints plated another run when Princeton threw away a routine ground ball on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Brittany Pate.

"We had some errors that killed us," said Bulldawgs coach Terry Braswell.

Princeton (3-3) knotted the game in the sixth.

Ashley Braswell doubled off the right center-field fence and scored on Bridgers' single to right field. Tylan George drew a walk, but Darden appeared to escape trouble when she struck out Devon Murphy.

Working with two strikes, Sarah Eonta forged the 3-3 tie with a two-strike single up the middle.

"They finally dialed in on the pitching because that's what we see every day," said coach Braswell. "I was proud of the way we hit that pitcher, she's good. I'm hoping that's a sign of things to come."

The Bulldawgs put runners aboard in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Darden, who threw 95 pitches, stopped each rally with either a strikeout or pop-up in foul territory.

Saints first baseman Tara Hirsch, who injured her right thumb, was thrown out at second base in the sixth and eighth innings. Madison Davis slapped a lead-off single to start the seventh inning, but was left stranded at second base as Bridgers recorded three consecutive outs.

In the ninth, Morgan Davis reached when her grounder squirted underneath Brittany Baker's glove at shortstop. The Dawgs misplayed Darden's sac bunt and Madison Davis loaded the bases on a fielder's choice.

Williams followed with the game-clinching single, her second hit of the night.

"We played with a lot more intensity," said Wiggs. "I think we let them off the rope when we had them 3-0 in the sixth inning. But we played good, sound ball after that. We kept ticking, held them defensively and hoped something would go our way, and it did."