April 22, 2012

Saints Come Up Short in Bid for Fourth Straight Tournament Title

Contact Joey Daniels, jddani9448@northgeorgia.edu

COLUMBUS, GA – North Georgia came up short in their bid for a fourth consecutive Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship, falling to Columbus State 4-1 at Cougar Field Sunday evening.

The Saints (45-8) simply could not touch Mollie Russell, who earned Tournament MVP for her performance today. The North Georgia lineup mustered up just one hit all evening against the hurler, ending their hopes for a fourth straight title.

The loss snaps a Saints PBC tournament winning streak of 14, as well as an overall winning streak of 15 games this season.

Jessica Coan pitched well, but not quite good enough for a win, as she surrendered four runs on seven hits. She gave up a three-run home run in the third to the PBC's record-holder for home runs in a season, after Casey Googe blasted her 21st home run of the season.

The bats went cold at the wrong time for North Georgia, which has happened on occasion throughout this season. The lineup combined to go just 1-for-22 at the plate.

Despite the loss, the No. 11-ranked Saints should still hold strong at No. 1 in the NCAA Southeast Region Poll to be released next week. If that is the case, North Georgia would host an NCAA Regional on May 5-7 in Dahlonega, a definitive advantage.

The only hit of the ball game for the Saints came off the bat of Karlie Gillam, who was outstanding defensively once again at third.

Earning All-Tournament Team honors were Melissa Dickie, Hilary Cox and Tiffanie Burns. Cox and Burns led the attack offensively this weekend, while Dickie was dominating in the circle once agin.

Although the Saints did not win either championship in 2012, the future certainly looks bright. They will still have the opportunity for a fourth straight College World Series appearance, forcing the regionals to go through Dahlonega, should the rankings hold strong.

The matchup in the NCAA Regional will be released on the Sunday or Monday (April 29-30) before the regionals start. Stay tuned to SaintsSports.com for the North Georgia pairing, matchup and location.