April 14, 2013

Sixth-Ranked Saints Sweep Mountain Lions on "Senior Day"

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The sixth-ranked University of North Georgia (UNG) softball team wrapped up the regular-season with a Peach Belt Conference (PBC) sweep over the Mountain Lions of Young Harris College (YHC). The Saints run-ruled the Mountain Lions in both games, claiming a 16-2 victory in five innings in game-one before winning 9-1 in five in the day's second game.

Following the sweep, head coach Mike Davenport and the team honored the five seniors – Krysten Connelly, Callie Fernandez, Karlie Gillam, Kayla Minger and Katherine Martin – for their time with the program, which includes a staggering record of 189-35 overall and 70-12 in conference action. This graduating class has also claimed two PBC regular-season and tournament titles, two Southeast Region titles and made two trips to the College World Series (2010, 2011).

The ceremony proved to be extra special for Connelly as her long-time boyfriend, Joshua Ingram, surprised her by proposing marriage inside the pitcher's circle.

Game 1: #6 North Georgia 16, Young Harris 2 (5 Inn.)

After opening the game with one run in the bottom of the first, the Saints (36-11, 16-6) batted around the order twice en route to scoring 12 runs, only six earned, off 10 hits and two YHC errors. During the scoring, Tiffanie Burns knocked a three-run home run.

Young Harris (26-26, 6-16 PBC) was able to avoid the shutout in the top of the fourth inning, scoring two runs off three hits before Kim McMillan ripped a three-run homer in the bottom of the frame.

Six players for North Georgia tallied multiple hits in the game, led by Gillam's 3-4 performance at the plate, while nine players scored for the Saints.

Freshman Courtney Poole pitched the first four innings to secure the win before handing over pitching duties to Connelly to close out the victory. Poole gave up just four hits compared to four strikeouts in the first game while Darby Stanford (12-10) was saddled with the loss for the Mountain Lions after giving up eight runs, seven earned, and eight hits in 1.1 innings of work.

Game 2: #6 North Georgia 9, Young Harris 1 (6 Inn.)

The day's second game was postponed by rain showers moving through the area and then progressed slower than the first as Young Harris eased out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

It was a lead that did not last for long as the Saints scored three runs in the third inning followed by two in the fourth, one in the fifth and a final three in the bottom of the sixth to end the game early for the second time on the day.

Seven players scored in the game for North Georgia led by Taylor Merritt and Sarah Johnson, both of whom scored twice. Minger led all players at the plate with a 3-3 performance at the plate including five runs batted in and was just one triple away from batting the cycle as she knocked a double in the first, a three-run homer in the third and a single in the fifth.

Poole (22-6) came back in the second game to pitch the complete game with seven strikeouts compared to giving up seven hits and one earned run. Katie-Jo Gentry (9-13) accepted the loss in the circle for YHC as she gave up 11 hits and eight earned runs in 5.1 innings of work. 

The Saints will next play in the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Softball Tournament hosted by Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. Competition will start on Saturday, Apr. 20 and wrap up on Sunday with the schedule still to be determined.