May 8, 2008

Saints walk-off With 3-2 win over Pirates

North Georgia advances to play Francis Marion in the semi-finals

- North Georgia College & State University used a walk-off single by Krista Bess to get by Armstrong Atlantic State University 3-2 Thursday evening under the lights on day two of the NCAA South Atlantic Regional hosted by UNC Pembroke at LRA field.

"I am extremely excited proud of this team for persevering the entire year," head coach Mike Davenport said. "We are continuing to grow and mature into a good college softball team."

Armstrong jumped on the board first in the second inning as Tori Richter grounded out to shortstop to bring Ashley Bain home for a 1-0 Pirates lead.

The Saints would come back in the fourth however, as Leslee Smith sent rocket to left field, just clearing the fence to tie the game 1-1. With two outs and no one aboard, North Georgia rallied with singles off the bat of Kaelin Farrington and Krista Bess, and Laura Voyles followed with a walk to load the bases for Kasey Knight. After a 3-0 pitching change, Knight took a strike but ball four followed, bringing Farrington home for a 2-1 advantage.

"Leslee Smith really came up big getting us on the board," Davenport said. "She definitely has the ability to change the game with her bat."

A 2-1 score would hold true until until seventh inning when Armstrong mounted a rally and brought home the tying run with a two-out single as Erin Billingsley coaxed a single down the first base line to bring Kari Marsico racing home and tie the game 2-2.

After losing the lead in the top of the seventh, North Georgia went right back to work in the bottom half of the inning and promptly loaded the bases to bring Bess to the plate with only one out. After getting ahead in the count 2-1, Bess lined a ball to left field, one-hopping the fence and plating Stephanie Farmakis for a 3-2 last at-bat win.

"I can't say how proud I am of Krista Bess, our lone senior," Davenport said following the last at-bat win. "She has come up big for us late in the game several times this season. She is a young lady who has shown tremendous character, perseverance, and patience over her career."

Sarah Phillips (19-7) picked up her second straight regional win, tossing a complete game and allowing six hits and two runs while striking out one.

Jacquie Crane (12-8) suffered the loss in the relief, allowing a run on six hits in 2.2 innings of work.

North Georgia will move on in the winners bracket and face Francis Marion University Thursday at 4:00 p.m. for the right to play the championship game, while Armstrong will drop to the losers bracket and face GCSU at 1:00 p.m.