CARROLLTON, Ga. - West Georgia and Lee combined for nine runs in the final three innings on Friday evening at University Field, but six of those went to the Flames, as the Wolves lost the opener of the Gulf South Conference series 7-6 in eight innings.
The fight back for the Wolves in this one was outstanding, as West Georgia surrendered four runs in the final two innings of regulation, but came right back in the bottom of the seventh, trailing 5-3 to tie the contest at 5-5.
UWG starter Morgan Goree and Lee starter Taylor De Adder engaged in a furious pitcher's duel, but it didn't start that way. Goree walked the first two batters of the game and Lee took advantage on an infield single later in the inning, as Flames shortstop Kayla Louie scored for the first run of the game. That would be all that Goree would allow, as solid pitching a great defense from the Wolves kept Lee off the scoreboard for the next four innings.
The Wolves flirted with the scoreboard on several occasions early in the game and finally pushed through with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Cassie Henderson led off the inning with a double to right-center, then came home later in the inning on a single from catcher Mallory Walker to tie the game at 1-1.
Henderson came up big again in the bottom of the fifth after second baseman Ashley Ellison drew a one-out walk. Henderson hammered the third pitch of the next at-bat deep into the night, delivering a two-run home run to give the Wolves a 3-1 advantage. That lead would be short-lived, as Lee second baseman Zoe Miller led off the top of the sixth with a solo home run, pulling the Flames to within a run at 3-2.
The Flames continued to threaten in the sixth, with a pair of runners eventually reaching second and third with two outs. Goree struck out Lee designated hitter Lily Hatcher on a 1-2 count to preserve the UWG lead and secure a lead for the team heading into the seventh. In the seventh, Lee scored three runs, powered by a pair of doubles to open the inning, to give the Flames a two-run advantage heading into the final half-inning.
In the seventh, a strange play with sophomore Ashley Ellison extended the game for the Wolves, as Ellison grounded to third base with two outs. The ball was close to the line and was called fair, giving Ellison a late jump from the plate. The throw from third was in the dirt, allowing Ellison to advance to second. Henderson came through big again, delivering a single to left-center to score Ellison. Lexie Stohr then nearly ended the game with a double off the fence in left-center, scoring the tying run. Raven Smith then looped a line drive into right-center and center fielder Maddie Davenport's diving catch saved the game for the Flames.
In the top of the eighth, Lee led off with a walk, then a home run to right-center gave the Flames a 7-5 advantage with no outs in extras. Raya Moncus got out of the inning, giving the offense another chance. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, catcher Mallory Walker homered to center field to cut the Lee advantage to 7-6.
West Georgia falls to 19-22 overall on the year and 5-14 against GSC competition, while the Flames move to 16-19 on the year and 4-10 in league play. The same two teams will be back in action on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.