SALEM, VA – Top-ranked Alabama-Huntsville left no room for doubt on Friday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Division II National Championships, pounding out four home runs and running away with a 14-2 victory over North Georgia in the battle of the top two teams in the country at the Moyer Sports Complex.
The much-anticipated game of the top two teams in the country proved that Alabama-Huntsville deserved the top ranking as they improve to 47-5-1 on the year, while the Saints (53-11) fall to the Chargers for the fourth time this season.
The Chargers now take the fast track to Sunday's semifinal round and are in the driver's seat to capture the bottom half of the bracket. North Georgia will flop to top half of the bracket and are slated to play Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. in an elimination game against the winner of C.W Post and Saginaw Valley.
The second straight game, North Georgia struggled early, as the Chargers used a walk by Krystal Johnson, and Kathryn Whitlock followed and drilled an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right center to give UAH a two-run first-inning advantage.
Alabama-Huntsville doubled their lead in the second inning, using a seeing-eye single off the bat of Krystal Johnson to plate a run, and Whitlock followed and coaxed a bases loaded walk to make it 4-0.
The Saints cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second inning, using a leadoff bloop single by Katherine Martin, and Hilary Cox followed and sent a blast over the foul pole down the left field line to put North Georgia on the board and make it 4-2. The home run for Cox is her second in as many days and 14th of the season.
Sarah Phillips entered in the third inning and after a scoreless opening frame, the Chargers' bats came to life with a four spot in the fourth frame and one more in the fifth to take a commanding 9-2 lead. Mary Kelley launched a three-run bomb in the fourth inning, and Needham belted a solo shot in the fifth to highlight the offensive surge for Alabama-Huntsville.
The Chargers would not stop their offense, pushing five runs across in the seventh inning, including a two-run blast off the bat of Sam Deep to UAH up by a dozen at 14-2. The 14 runs for Alabama-Huntsville are the most runs ever scored in a game at the Division II National Championships.
Jessica Coan (27-5) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in just 2.0 innings of work. Phillips tossed the final 5.0 innings, allowing 12 hits and 10 runs, while striking out five.
Whitney Toler (20-2) worked her way out of jams all afternoon and picked up her 6th complete game of the year, allowing two runs on 10 hits, while walking two and striking out five.
North Georgia had plenty of offense, recording 10 hits, but leaving nine runners on base. Knight tallied three hits, while Kayla Martin added a pair of base knocks. Cox drove in the only runs for the Saints with the two-run blast in the second inning.