AIKEN, SC – The 2nd-ranked North Georgia softball team opened the 2011 season on Saturday afternoon, taking on Barton College and silencing the Bulldogs 8-0 in five innings on the opening day of the Aiken Early Bird Invitational at Citizens' Park.
The Saints were scheduled to open the season against Erskine College earlier in the day, but inclement weather cancelled the opening game, sending North Georgia to face Barton College to open the year.
North Georgia could do little wrong at the plate against the Bulldogs, scoring in four of the five innings on their way to an 8-0 victory. The Saints scored a single run in the opening inning, before adding two runs in each of the next two innings, and a three spot in the fifth frame closed out Barton.
The big blow came in the fifth inning when Hilary Cox stepped to the plate with two runners on and no outs and the junior from Douglasville, Ga., connected on her 13th career home run to extend the lead to 8-0. Kasey Knight and Pilar Harden reached on back-to-back Barton errors before Cox delivered the big blow.
Cox was the only player to collect multiple hits in the game, as Ansley Williams, Kasey Knight, and Katherine Martin all registered single base knocks in the victory. Pilar Harden scored a run and drove in two more without the benefit of a hit as the Saints rolled to their first win of the year.
Sarah Phillips picked up the win in the circle, going the distance for her 104th career victory, allowing two hits and no walks in 5.0 innings of work.
The Saints return to action on Sunday morning, taking on the University of Charleston at 10:00 a.m., before turning around and battling Chowan at 12:00 p.m. Every pitch of both games can be followed with live in-game statistics at SaintsSports.com.