February 13, 2011

Saints Softball Completes Weekend Sweep in Columbus

 COLUMBUS, GA – Ranked No. 2 in the country, the North Georgia softball team continued their hot start to the 2011 season, grabbing two more wins on the final day of the Hughston Sports Clinic Classic on the campus of Columbus State University.

The Saints improve to 7-0 on the year after sneaking out a 3-0 victory in the opener against Lynn University, and blasting West Alabama 8-0 in five innings later in the day to wrap up play at the Hughston Sports Clinic Classic.

Game one against Lynn University was all about pitching and great defense as junior hurler Jessica Coan continued her onslaught on hitters, getting the start and tossing a complete-game shutout with 12 more strikeouts without allowing a run.

The Duluth, Ga., native allowed just five hits and picked up her second complete-game shutout of the year as she has now recorded 33 strikeouts in 18.0 innings of work on the season. Still sporting a perfect 0.00 earned run average, opponents are hitting just .127 again Coan.

North Georgia had little offense in the opener as the Fighting Knights held the Saints to just three hits, but for the second straight day, Lynn's defense would let them down, committing three errors in the game, two of which led directly to a pair of runs in the fourth inning.

The Saints scraped together a run in the third inning as Natasha Willemse led off the frame, coaxed a walk, and later stole second to put herself in scoring position with no outs. After a passed ball moved the senior to third, Ansley Williams did her job and lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield, bringing home what turned out to be the winning run.

North Georgia added two more unearned runs in the fourth inning, capitalizing on two Lynn errors to pull away for the 3-0 victory and defeat the Fighting Knights for the second time in less than 24 hours.

Game two featured plenty of offense with the first four hitters in the North Georgia lineup exploding at the plate to carry the Saints to a 9-0 victory. Ansley Williams tallied three hits and an RBI in the leadoff spot, while Kasey Knight added a trio of hits as well in the two-hole, scoring two runs, driving in a pair, and recording three stolen bases.

Pilar Harden had her best game of the year hitting third in the lineup, tallying a pair of hits and driving in a run, while drawing a walk. Hilary Cox definitely cleaned up hitting fourth, as the junior was 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run and three runs batted in.

The Saints tallied runs in all five innings, but it was Sarah Phillips who kept West Alabama off the board, going the distance for her second complete-game shutout. The senior allowed five hits and had six strikeouts as North Georgia has now shutout opponents in five of their seven games this season.

The Saints will finally have the chance to play their home-opener for the 2011 season, returning to Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium for a Tuesday afternoon doubleheader against Mars Hill. First pitch against the Lions is set for 2:00 p.m. in Dahlonega.