FT. MYERS, Fla. - The Wichita State softball team lost a pair of games Friday to open the La Quinta Inn and Suites at the Airport Tournament in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Shockers lost an extra-inning heart breaker to Georgia Southern 4-3, and a 6-2 decision to host Florida Gulf Coast.
Against Georgia Southern, starting pitcher Katie Armagost and the rest of the Shockers outplayed an experienced team that participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament for the first six and a half innings. It was the final half inning that proved to be the Shockers undoing.
Wichita State started the game aggressive at the plate getting back-to-back RBI doubles from Ali Vandever and Hayley Temple in the top of the first and receiving a dominant performance in the pitching circle from Armagost.
In the top of the fourth Erin Carney's infield popup managed to find its way to the dirt untouched between home plate and the pitchers circle scoring Temple giving Wichita State a 3-0 lead.
Entering the bottom of the seventh with the 3-0 advantage, the Shockers looked to be in full control. It was then that Georgia Southern rallied to stun the Shockers. The Eagles' AJ Hamilton reached base to start the inning on a fielding error by Vandever. Alexa Lewis followed with a triple to right center to score Hamilton. Lexi Allen then delivered a sacrifice fly to center scoring Lewis and narrowing the Wichita State lead to 3-2. Armagost induced a groundout to get Wichita State within an out of victory with cleanup hitter Kourtny Thomas stepping to the plate. On the third pitch of the at-bat Thomas launched a game-tying solo home run to center sending the game to extra innings.
Using the international tiebreaking rule that places the last out of the previous inning at second base with no outs to begin the inning, Wichita State was unable to score stranding Brittany Fortner at third base on a line drive to right field from Megan McCracken.
In the bottom of the eighth the Eagles loaded the bases with no outs and then got a sacrifice fly to right field from Hamilton to end the game.
Armagost matched a career-high with 8 strikeouts and allowed only one earned run over 7.1 innings.
Temple, Layne Greenlee and Kaitlyn Carey each tallied two hits for the Shockers.
In the game against Florida Gulf Coast the Shockers once again were the first team on the scoreboard when sophomore Megan McCracken singled home Vandever in the bottom of the first.
After Florida Gulf Coast answered back in the top of the second with a pair of runs to take the lead, Greenlee doubled down the right field line to plate Fortner and tie the game, 2-2.
The double from Greenlee would be the last Wichita State hit until Brianne Bond's single in the bottom of the seventh put runners at first and second with no outs. The Eagles made a pitching change and recorded three outs to end the game.