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Alford leads huge night at plate for GSU in win over Tech

Georgia State’s Callie Alford, seen here waiting to bat against Kennesaw State, was a triple short of the cycle in Tuesday’s win over Georgia Tech. Staff photo by Kurt Aschermann Jr.

Georgia State’s Callie Alford, seen here waiting to bat against Kennesaw State, was a triple short of the cycle in Tuesday’s win over Georgia Tech. Staff photo by Kurt Aschermann Jr.

Callie Alford and the Georgia State softball team brought the big bats to Mewborn Field Tuesday. Alford had three hits, including a three-run home run that was part of a four-home run night for the Panthers in a 10-5 victory.

It was just a 5-4 Georgia State lead in the top of the fourth, thanks to Tech catcher Alysha Rudnik’s three-run shot a half inning earlier. Alford, a Heritage graduate, changed that in a hurry, taking a 2-0 pitch from Kanani Cabrales and ripping a three-run home run to center field that put the visitors up 8-4.

It was Alford’s second long ball in as many games and fourth of the season and for the night, the junior was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Taylor Anderson got in on the long ball fun over her final plate appearances, clubbing solo shots in both the fifth and seventh innings, the last of which pulled the State (20-20) lead off hitter past Lauren Coleman for the team home run lead with six and made it a 10-5 game.

Tech (19-16) took the first lead of the night without the benefit of a hit in the home half of the first.

Facing State starter Eron Milton, Ashley Thomas walked to start the frame and moved to second on Hayley Downs’ sacrifice. Alysha Rudnik followed with a sacrifice fly that chased home Thomas for a 1-0 lead.

Georgia State, with the help of the Tech defense, answered right back with a pair of second-inning runs to take the lead for good. The ball didn’t leave the infield after a walk to Kensey Caldwell and Megan Litumbe’s single, but the Panthers tied the game on Kylie Kleinschmidt’s wild pitch and grabbed a 2-1 cushion when Litumbe scored on an error by second baseman Maddie Lionberger.

Alford was involved in State’s three-run fifth. After Lauren Coleman singled, Alford doubled and a batter later, Litumbe crushed a three-run home run to chase Kleinschmidt from the game and make it 5-1.

Rudnik’s home run was her team-high ninth of the season.