SALEM, VA – Top-ranked North Georgia used
a Laura Voyles two-out three-run tying homer in the seventh to
force extra innings before Courtney McGuire gave the Saints a 5-3
victory over Dixie State in walk-off fashion in the opening round
of the 2009 NCAA National Championships.
The historic run continues for the Saints, winning their 26th straight game and 41 out of their last 42 contest to improve to 49-3 on the season, one victory shy of the school’s all-time win mark in a single season.
Top-ranked North Georgia will now advance to take on 4th-ranked Angelo State in the winner’s bracket Friday afternoon at 12-noon. The winner between the Rambelles and Saints will advance to game #11 of the Championship on Sunday at 12-noon.
The fifth inning proved to be the offensive outburst for Dixie State, using back-to-back singles to start the inning before a sacrifice bunt moved the runners over. Jaki Hawkins then stepped to the plate and blasted a two-strike pitch over the left field fence to give the Red Storm a 3-0 lead.
With North Georgia trailing 3-0 heading to the last of the seventh, the Saints could hardly imagine what would happen next. Hilary Cox led off and singled through the right side but was erased on a fielder’s choice before Kayla Martin lined a singled to left center, sending Stephanie Farmakis racing for third who was throw out by a perfect throw. Kaelin Farrington followed and coaxed a walk to extend the inning to bring Voyles to the dish with two on, two out, and the game on the line. The junior found herself in a 2-2 count before connecting on a high fastball, launching a blast to left center that cleared the fence and sent North Georgia into eruption. The home run marked the first runs ever scored by North Georgia in the Division II College World Series.
After two scoreless innings, the opening round matchup went to the bottom of the 10th inning where Voyles forced a walk to lead off the frame before Courtney McGuire stepped to the dish and belted a shot down the left field line to send the Saints into celebration with a 5-3 walk-off victory.
Sarah Phillips (38-1) picks up her 35th consecutive victory,
tossing all 10.0 innings and allowing six hits and three earned
runs while striking out eight.
The three-run deficit in the seventh marks the Saints fifth comeback of the season when trailing after six innings. North Georgia wins its 41st game against a right-handed pitcher, and move to a perfect 7-0 in extra inning games this season.