Columbia College softball falls to Top 25 foes at Gulf Shores Invitational

Saturday, March 8, 2014 | 8:11 p.m. CST; updated 7:45 a.m. CDT, Monday, March 10, 2014

The Columbia College softball team went 0-2 against No. 21 William Carey (Miss.) University and No. 9 Belhaven (Miss.) University at the Gulf Shores Invitational on Saturday. 

The Cougars are now 5-6 on the season.

In the first game, Columbia was down 2-0 to William Carey early. The Cougars tied the Crusaders with two runs in the top of the second behind Jessica Hardy's first home run of the season.

Columbia's starting pitcher, Paxton Welch, was ushered out of the game after just 1 1/3 innings thanks to William Carey's seven-run second inning, which gave the Crusaders a 9-2 lead.

The next five innings would be much of the same, as William Carey beat Columbia 11-6. There was a glimmer of hope for a comeback in the seventh inning, but William Carey's starter Brooke Guillot struck out the side after surrendering a pair of walks.

Welch took the loss for Columbia, allowing six runs on six hits. Hardy, Kaylee Brueggman and Kristin Eiken each had two of the Cougars' 12 hits in the game.

In game two, Belhaven wasted no time grabbing a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Columbia starter Lauren McCroskie then recovered to throw five shutout innings but received little help from her offense.

The Blazers took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning, where the Cougars would plate three runs in the top of the inning to take a 3-1 lead.

Belhaven answered by loading the bases with nobody out against McCroskie. Blazers' No. 2 hitter Shelby Watson followed with a three-run double, giving Belhaven the walk-off 4-3 win.

Columbia resumes to the diamond in the Gulf Shores Invitational with bracket play at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

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