By Matt Green
CLEVELAND, Miss. – The Shorter softball squad picked up its 11th and 12th straight wins by sweeping Gulf South Conference rival Delta State on Sunday in Cleveland, Miss. Game scores were 9-1 and 5-1.
The Lady Hawks (13-1, 4-0 GSC) made quick work of the Statesmen, who dropped to 7-9 overall and 2-2 in the league after scoring a sweep of West Georgia in their first conference series of the season yesterday.
Shorter, which opened the conference campaign in style with a dominant sweep of Christian Brothers on Saturday, kept rolling on Sunday in Mississippi.
In Game 1, Kayla Cooper racked up five RBI – with the help of a grand slam – and Christina Ezell earned her second win in the circle in as many days by allowing just four hits as Shorter topped Delta State, 9-1.
Cooper, who went 5-for-7 with a pair of RBI during Shorter's series sweep of Christian Brothers on Saturday, kept rolling in the opener against the Statesmen, going 2-for-3 with a double, second inning bases loaded walk and third inning grand slam that broke the game open for the Lady Hawks.
Ezell continued her dominance on the rubber for Shorter, fanning 11 Statesmen in five innings while surrendering only the one unearned run in the first inning. Ezell now has 51 strikeouts on the season after yet another complete game gem.
Shorter pounded out 11 hits in the runaway win. Bre Johnson, Whitney Hood and Ezell each went 2-for-3 in the victory as every Shorter starter with the exception of Kendall Johnson and Felicia Morris tallied at least one hit – even Morris got in on the act though, driving in a pair of runs on an RBI groundout in the first and a sacrifice fly in the second that capped a three-run Shorter frame and put the Lady Hawks up 4-1.
The Lady Hawks again used a big inning to overwhelm an opponent and deal the crushing blow, this time, getting most of the damage on one swing of the bat in the third inning.
Shorter's first three batters of the third loaded the bases for Ezell, who singled home Sarah Corn to make it 5-1. After Johnson flied out to right, Cooper unloaded over the wall in right to extend Shorter's lead to 9-1 and give her a team-high four home runs on the young season.
In the nightcap, three solo home runs and a strong pitching performance from Kristen Little propelled Shorter to the 5-1 win.
Amanda Dailey homered in the second, Cooper went deep in the third for her second home run of the series and Bre Johnson left the park in the fifth as Shorter upped its home run total to 14 through 15 games this season. Dailey's blast was her second of the year, Cooper's her fifth and Johnson's her third of the season and 19th of her Shorter career.
Shorter's other runs came on RBI singles from Kendall Johnson and Hood in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.
Little worked all seven innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out six. She stayed unbeaten on the year, improving to 3-0.
Cooper finished 2-for-3 in Game 2 for Shorter while Hood also recorded multiple hits, going 2-for-4. Cooper finished the weekend series 9-for-13 with four doubles, two homers and eight RBI.
Katie Hebert went 1-for-3 with an RBI double to provide the offense for Delta State in Game 2.
Shorter continues Gulf South Conference play on Wednesday, March 6 when it plays host to the University of Alabama in Huntsville in a doubleheader at Alto Park set for a 4 pm start.