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Panthers softball splits two with Mercer

Before they headed south for the weekend, the Georgia State softball team split a pair of games with in-state rival Mercer Wednesday.

The Panthers rolled to a 17-3 victory in the first game of the night and Heritage graduate Callie Alford and Rockdale graduate MeQuilla Franklin contributed to the team’s highest-scoring output of the season.

Alford helped get Georgia State an early lead, hitting an opposite field, two-run home run, her second of the season. In a five-run second, Franklin walked and singled and Alford also had a single as the Panthers went up 8-0. GSU went up 17-2 after a six-run fourth, which included a grand slam by Ashley Christy and Franklin’s single and run scored.

Franklin, who is hitting .316 in 12 games, had a hit and scored two runs and Alford (.257 with eight RBIs in 11 games) was hitless in four trips to the plate in the second game, an 11-5 Mercer victory.

Georgia State (7-5) will open the USF Under Armour Invitational today at 11 am against Minnesota, followed by a game with Coastal Carolina at 1 pm.

Johnson adjusting to college game

Former Rockdale standout Candace Johnson has had her ups and downs through the first two weeks of her first collegiate season. The freshman at Furman is hitting .267 (4 for 15), but is second on the team in strikeouts with 10, including four of the Paladins’ 11 in a recent 4-3 loss to USC Upstate and starter Anna Miller.

Before that, the freshman outfielder had four hits and three RBIs, including her first career home run in wins over Liberty and Winthrop February 21 and 22.

Furman will travel to Winthrop to play in the Combat Invitational in Rock Hill, South Carolina this weekend. The Paladins open the tournament today with games against Robert Morris (1 pm) and Cleveland State (3 pm).