By David Rogers. April 6, 2014. BOONE, NC – Two-time SoCon “Pitcher of the Year” Sarah Purvis of Georgia Southern showed WHY on Sunday, shaking off two Mountaineer solo home runs to lead the Eagles past Appalachian State, 4-3. It was Purvis’ second complete game of the Eagles weekend sweep at Sywassink/Lloyd Stadium.
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Photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
With junior Alissa Schoelkopf on the mound for the Mountaineers, GSU’s freshman leftfielder Emily Snider rocked a 1-1 pitch over the right field fence in the top of the third inning with a runner aboard to draw first blood for the visitors.
Two at bats later, AppState exacted a measure of revenge when junior infielder Cynthia Gomez knocked the first pitch in the bottom of the 4th over the fence in straightaway center. Catcher Sarah Warnock followed that up with an 0-0 double down the left field line, then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Purvis. Two batters later, 1B Lindsay Loudermilk lofted a long fly ball to right with one out, allowing Warnock to sprint home with the tying run.
“I thought it was a double,” smiled Gomez to reporters afterwards, admitting that she is not a long ball hitter. It was the first career home run for the Mountaineers’ season batting leader, who sports .354 batting average after 82 at-bats.
Georgia Southern didn’t waste any time in getting back in control of the game. The Eagles’ head coach Annie Smith opened the top of the 5th with two consecutive bunts, with GSU designated player Taylor Rogers and Snider at the top of the batting order showing off their speed in beating out the perfectly executed “tricky hits” down the third base line and in front of the pitcher, respectively. Both would later score on RBI singles by the Eagles’ SS Kourtny Thomas and RF Kaitlyn Johnson.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Mountaineers tried to respond. Their first batter, LF Pepper Butler got things going in the right direction by launching a 2-2 Purvis pitch over the left field fence. With two outs, Warnock kept the inning alive by getting hit by a pitch, then CF Ashley Seering singled to right, but Purvis struck out Loudermilk looking at a called third strike.
That was it for the scoring. Schoelkopf, who also pitched a complete game, gave up an opening double to the Eagles 2B Lexi allen in the top of the 6th, but then retired the next three batters, striking out two.
Georgia Southern threatened to score in the 7th, getting Snider to third, but left her stranded before retiring the Mountaineers in order in their half of the inning.
Purvis gave up 6 hits — two of the home runs — in allowing AppState to score three runs. The powerful righthanded senior struck out 8 Mountaineers, while only walking one. Her opposite, Schoelkopf, scattered 9 hits while giving up four Eagle runs, recording six strikeouts and walking three.
“Georgia Southern is the best team in the (Southern Conference),” noted AppState head coach Shae Wesley, now in her 4th year at the helm of the Mountaineers, “so you expect them to give you a tough game…I am really proud of our team for making some adjustments at the plate (leading to the two home runs vs. Purvis).”
Home runs vs. Purvis are a rare occurence. She gave up only 45 HRs in her first three years at Georgia Southern, in 84 appearances and 460.2 innings pitched, according to the Eagles’ 2014 Media Guide. Through Sunday, the senior hurler sports a 1.52 ERA in 2014, with 15 wins vs. 5 losses in 21 appearances, including 17 complete games. The Gomez and Butler dingers take Purvis HRs allowed this season to 14.
While conceding that giving up a three-game weekend sweep is disappointing, Wesley remained upbeat in telling reporters, “Our main goal is where we are going, not what just happened or what we did yesterday. Those things are in the past, so they cannot be undone. So our eyes and our focus have to be on how we play today (and in the future). I thought we