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DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia softball team reached a milestone on Saturday in their opening day of the 2012 season, winning their 600th game in program history, recording a 7-0 win over Tusculum. The Saints then defeated North Greenville 4-2 in the nightcap to close out the opening day of first annual Loyal Blue Classic.
Game 1 vs. Tusculum
The No. 3-ranked Saints (1-0) softball team got their season off to a good start as usual, using a dominating pitching performance by Jessica Coan. Coan picked up right where we she left off a season ago, mowing down the competition. The senior recorded eight strikeouts and only allowed one hit in her six dominating innings.
North Georgia spotted Coan an early run when Pilar Harden reached on an error, scoring Sarah Johnson. The score would stay that way until the top of third, until Tiffanie Burns hit a home run in her first career at bat. It was a no-doubter over the centerfield wall.
While Coan continued to do her part, shutting down the Pioneers, North Georgia decided it was time to blow things open.
Burns recorded another RBI, knocking in Kaitlyn Seabolt on a single to leftfield. Burns was 2-for-2 in her first collegiate game.
Johnson doubled to left, scoring Burns, then proceeded to steal home. North Georgia would score three runs in the inning.
The Saints would add two more in the top of the 7th when Harden reached on another error, allowing Rochelle Shuman and Katie Garrett to score. That would be the way it would end, a breezy 7-0 win over Tusculum.
Burns and Johnson each had two hits apiece, while Tusculum recorded their only hit of the game in their first at bat by Nicole Ball.
Game 2 vs. North Greenville
North Georgia (2-0) made the second game more interesting than the first, hanging on to knock of the Crusaders 4-2 on a cold night in Dahlonega.
Jessica Coan picked up another win for the Saints, as she came in and shutdown North Greenville, adding on to her dominating performance in the first game. Coan threw four shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven Crusader players.
Pilar Harden was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Katherine Martin and Karlie Gillam recorded the other two RBI's in the game. Gillam hit a run-scoring triple while Martin drove a single up the middle.
The Saints scored three runs in the first and added one more in the third. North Georgia had seven hits, while the Crusaders committed four errors.
Krysten Connelly allowed two runs and walked six batters. Connelly did record two strikeouts in three innings of work.
North Greenville went 0-2 on the day, falling to Bellarmine and North Georgia.
Courtney Campbell led the Crusaders against the Saints going 3-for-3 with 2 RBI's.
The Saints are back at it again in day two of the Loyal Blue Classic tomorrow when the play Bellarmine and Tusculum. The Saints play the Knights at 1:00 PM and the Pioneers of Tusculum College at 3:00 PM.