Morgan Knight, Mollie Russell lead Columbus State softball into regional title game


SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Columbus State continued its postseason dominance over Armstrong Atlantic with a 2-0 win in the second round of the NCAA Southeast Regional.

The victory was the third straight time CSU has beaten Armstrong in the postseason. The Lady Cougars beat the Lady Pirates in last year's Peach Belt Conference tournament as well as this year's.

CSU is 0-4 against Armstrong during the past two regular seasons.

With Saturday's win, CSU (41-16) advanced to Sunday's noon championship game. CSU will play Armstrong Atlantic again. Armstrong beat Wingate 5-4 in an elimination game Saturday afternoon.

CSU will need to win once Sunday, while Armstrong would have to beat CSU twice. The winner will play the winner of the other half of the Southeast Regional in a super regional next week.

Center fielder Morgan Knight, batting ninth, provided the Lady Cougars with all the offense they would need in the fourth inning.

Nina Rubio struck out for what would have been the third out, but the pitch could not be caught by the Armstrong catcher, and Rubio reached first base on the wild pitch.

Knight followed with a homer for a 2-0 lead.

That was all Mollie Russell would need. The PBC Pitcher of the Year pitched a complete game, giving up just four hits. She struck out two.

Russell (24-8) needed only 50 pitches to shut out the Lady Pirates.

Casey Googe wasthe only CSU player with two hits. Branigan Wix and Kodi Ricketson has one hit apiece.

Notes: Russell was named to the PBC all-academic team after posting a grade point average of 3.33, She is majoring in Biology. Teammates Kristen Carr and Casey Googe were honorable mention selections. … Carr, however, was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District Team. The team is chosen by school sports information directors. She has a 3.32 GPA in Criminal Justice. … Russell and Carr, along with Kori Waugh, were named to National Fastpitch Coaches Association all-region team. That makes them eligible for All-American consideration.

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