FLORENCE, SC – 2nd-ranked North Georgia
trailed by a run in the fourth inning, but the Saints rallied with
three runs over the next two innings to defeat Augusta State
University 3-1 Saturday afternoon in the second round of the PBC
Tournament at Freedom Florence Park.
The Saints improve to 41-3 on the season and 6-2 all-time in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament, while Augusta State falls to 31-18 overall.
North Georgia will move on to the semifinal round of the PBC Tournament and take on USC Aiken Saturday at 4:00 p.m. with the winner going directly to the championship series.
Augusta State falls to the loser’s bracket and will play Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against GCSU or Lander University. The Jaguars will face elimination with the winner advancing to their third game of the day at 6:30 p.m.
After a scoreless first inning, Augusta State took the lead in the second frame with a solo blast to left field off the bat of Kristen Jones to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead. The freshman looked at a ball before launching the ensuing pitch over the fence for the first run of the game.
With the Jaguars one out away from escaping the fourth inning and continuing a no-hitter, Leslee Smith stepped to the plate and launched a 1-1 pitch to center field, just out of reach of Kayla Adams to tie the game 1-1. North Georgia would put two more runners on in the inning before Augusta State brought on Sarah Demuth to escape the jam.
The Saints then came back in the fifth started a rally once again with a leadoff walk and passed ball as Kim Stercay then came to run for Kayla Martin at second base. After a sacrifice bunt and strikeout, North Georgia turned to Kasey Knight to deliver a two-out hit with the go-ahead runner at third base, and she did just that, lining a two-strike double over the third base bag to bring Stercay racing home for a 2-1 lead. Courtney McGuire then stepped to the dish and hit a laser double up the middle to plate Knight and give the Saints a 3-1 lead and all the runs they would need in the two-run victory.
Sarah Phillips (30-1) then went to work and shut down the Jaguars in the final two innings to win her 27th consecutive game. The sophomore went all 7.0 innings and allowed three hits and one earned run while striking out six.
Demuth (11-9) suffered the loss for the Jaguars in relief, lasting 1.0 inning and allowing two runs on as many hits while striking out two. Emily Corish got the start and went 3.2 innings and gave up one run on three hits.
Kasey Knight races to the plate from second on a double by Courtney McGuire in the fourth inning
The Saints celebrate the final run of the game to seal the 3-1 victory