Poulin purely perfect
By By Austin Bishop/EMG regional sports director
May 1, 2004
The weather at the Northeast Softball Complex was far from perfect on Friday.
Krystal Poulin, however, was.
The Southern Arkansas University pitcher retired all 21 batters she faced as the Riderettes blanked Delta State 5-0 on Friday night to reach the winners' bracket finals of the Gulf South Conference Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament.
She was right.
The SAU Riderettes will now take on the University of West Florida, which also won both its games on Friday, at 2 p.m. today.
Southern Arkansas opened the eight-team double-elimination tournament by shocking Alabama-Huntsville, the No. 6 NCAA Division II team in the country, 7-3.
What makes the Riderettes' two wins on Friday even more amazing is that SAU was only 3-11 all-time in GSC tournament play going into the day's action.
But Pagani said it wouldn't have been good enough to just upset Alabama-Huntsville.
The Riderettes are now 25-17 on the season and will likely have to win the tournament and pick up the conference's automatic bid in order to advance to the NCAA Division II regionals.
Southern Arkansas came into the tournament as the No. 4 seed in the GSC West, while UAH was the top seed out of the GSC East. Alabama-Huntsville has won four of the last five GSC tournaments.
While Poulin was the winning pitcher in the game against UAH, she was dominating against Delta State. While she was hard to hit throughout the game, recording eight strikeouts on the night, she was untouchable over the last stages of the game. She struck out five of the last seven batters she faced.
She guessed right.
The Riderettes scored all of the runs they would need in the bottom of the first inning when catcher Robyn Smith delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single to left.
SAU picked up another big two-out RBI in the second inning when Lauren Frazier's infield single scored Cassie Blackwood who reached base after being hit by a pitcher and advanced to third on a misplayed sacrifice bunt.
Blackwood sparked another rally in the sixth when she led off the inning with a double to left. She scored on another misplayed sacrifice bunt. The Riderettes picked up one more run to go up 5-0.
Whitney Brannon led SAU with two hits.