College Softball Final: Guilford 5, #1 Virginia Wesleyan 1 (8 innings)

SALEM, Va — Courtney Lackey outdueled Hannah Hull, the reigning NFCA player-of-the-year as Guilford College upset Virginia Wesleyan – the nation’s top-ranked team–to open play in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship. The Quakers prevailed by a score of 5-1 in eight innings. The win was GC’s first over a top-ranked softball opponent.

Guilford, the eighth-ranked and lowest-seeded team in the championship, received a pitching gem from senior Courtney Lackey and a back-breaking home run from Makayla Crawford to seal the victory.

Lackey (8-9) pitched all eight frames for Guilford. The senior allowed four hits and fanned three Marlins. She also went 3-4 with a run and one RBI to lead all batters.

GC took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Savannah Yale doubled to lead off and was brought home on a single to right field by Katie McNeill.

VWC, the tourney’s top team, tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Amanda Archer singled in pinch-runner Marla Weddle for the tally. Archer made the third out trying to reach second base on the play.

In the top of the eighth inning, McNeill was placed on second base per the tiebreaker rule. Darby Kozan pinch ran for McNeill and was bunted to third by Natalie Conrad. Lackey then helped her cause by getting an RBI single to centerfield. Kayli Blankenship reached on a bunt single. Crawford followed with her program-record 12th homer of the season – a blast to left-center – to push the score to 5-1.

In the bottom of the frame, the Marlins had a runner placed on second but Lackey forced two pop flies and a strikeout to secure the upset win.

The loss was the second for Virginia Wesleyan (39-2) of the season. Additionally, Hull dropped to 26-2 despite her eight-strikeout and no walk performance.

The Quakers had eight hits to VWC’s four.

Guilford (18-22) plays Emory & Henry at 7 p.m. tonight in their second game of the double-elimination tournament.