Hurston Leads Howard to Win Over SC State
ORMOND BEACH, FLA. - The Howard University bats came alive, erupting for four runs in the top of the fifth and three more in the sixth, and pitcher Jessica Hurston came up big on the mound and at the plate to lead the Lady Bison to a 10-6 win over South Carolina State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference softball tournament at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.
Howard (26-21) will take on Florida A&M University at 3 pm in the losers bracket. The Lady Bulldogs (9-43) close out their season.
The Lady Bison, the Number 1 seed in the North Division, was playing the Lady Bulldogs for the second time in 24 hours after losing to them, 5-0 on Thursday in the opening round. Howard got on the board first when starting pitcher Emily Johnson doubled to bring home shortstop Rebecca Kirshner for a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
But South Carolina State, the Number 4 seed in the South, responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-1 lead. Johnson, who started for Howard, was forced to bow out with an ankle injury after just one inning and was relieved by Christina McCoy, who was touched for the three SC State runs.
Hurston (3-2) came in relief and quickly quieted the SC State bats. The offense came alive. Senior rightfielder Courtney Young, a first team all-MEAC selection delivered a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the fourth.
The Lady Bison continued their barrage in the top of the fifth with four runs. A sacrifice fly by first baseman Ciera Gordon scored third baseman Nicole Saez. Catcher Aisha Ledet then scored on a fielder's choice and Hurtson and second baseman Trina Kindred hit back-to-back doubles to close out the inning with a 7-3 lead.
Howard would go on to score three more runs in the next inning as Gordon, Hurston and right fielder Christine Sborz all drove in runs.
The Lady Bulldogs would not go away as they scored three runs in the bottom of the six, two of them unearned, compliments of two errors and a passed ball. But in the end, Hurston dismissed any thoughts of a comeback, retiring the sides in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Hurston pitched five innings, gave up two hits and allowed only one earned run. Ledet and Young collected three hits, while Sborz, a second team all-conference selection, Hurston, Gordon and Young each drove in two runs for the Lady Bison, who pounded out 17 hits.
Sonya Giles drove in two runs for South Carolina State.