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Bruins Edge Cougars in Blacksburg

By Ben Hanneman530013_437485132944537_279580370_n-1

The road woes that have plagued the Pulaski Lady Cougars softball team most of this season continued Tuesday at Blacksburg as they fell 3-2 in the penultimate regular season game of the 2013 campaign.

Playing in their second game in two days because of a rainout Friday, the Cougars, who have only one win away from the friendly confines of PCHS, posted a pair of runs in the first three innings and held a 2-1 lead most of the game.

But then, as they’d done in their last meeting — a 12-10 come-from-behind thriller April 26 — the Bruins battled back. And while it wasn’t exactly like the four-run hole like the first time it was at least as gut-wrenching.

“Oh, this one was more frustrating because we only had six hits,” Coach Gina Miano said. “Their pitcher had a changeup that just shut us down.”

Hoping to capitalize on the off-speed pitches the Cougars went after the slower pitches early in the count. The strategy never quite materialized as Pulaski struck out six times.

“We just didn’t have the patience to lay off of the slow stuff,” Miano added.

Turns out the Bruins didn’t have much patience either. Courtney Beville struck out five Bruins and walked just two as she faced 30 batters in six innings. She only allowed five hits.

However, Lauren Williams gave the Bruins the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth

with a two-run single.

“We had two opportunities to get out of that inning and just couldn’t pull it off,” Miano

said.

Kelli Duncan led the Cougars at the plate, recording a pair of hits in three at-bats. The senior outfielder also scored a run and drove in a run. In the fourth inning, however, she reinjured the leg for which she’d just had surgery to repair at torn ACL.

The extent of any damage was unavailable Wednesday pending a doctor’s report, but Miano hinted she’s likely out for the rest of the season.

Jessica Shumate, Carli Brewer, Callie Gregory, and Chelsea Golden each added a hit in three trips to the plate. Shumate drove on Pulaski’s other run.

Jordan Chrisley finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout as she couldn’t get the ball out of the infield. She did manage to score a run on a Blacksburg error.

Also noticeably absent was the normally powerful Sara Wright. The Cougars home run leader was hitless in three tries and hit only one ball out of the infield.

With just one game remaining before the River Ridge District tournament – against Salem on Senior Night Thursday – the Cougars were not doubt hoping for a win to keep pace with Blacksburg in the standings.

Now they’ll likely be pitted against Christiansburg in the RRD which begins Tuesday, May 21.

“We just need to play as a team and make good things happen,” Miano said.

But first things first, Miano said, referring to their game against Salem. The Cougars did manage to take the Spartans to extra innings before dropping a 6-5 decision in eight innings.

“We need to have a tremendous game (against Salem). A win would cap the season off nicely. Win, lose, or draw, though, we just need an energy implant,” Miano said. “We’ve got the excitement of the senior game coming up and when it matters I just hope we’re able to bring it.”

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