April 8, 2009

Softball Takes Pair From Lander, Win-Streak at 12

Game 1 | Game 2

DAHLONEGA, GA – North Georgia moved one step closer to claiming the PBC regular season title Wednesday evening, sweeping Lander University 8-0 and 12-2 in front of a capacity crowd on Senior Day and Cancer Awareness Day.

North Georgia runs its win-streak to 12 games and improves to 35-3 overall and 13-1 in the Peach Belt Conference, while Lander University falls to 13-25 on the season and 2-11 in the league. With the two victories, the Saints’ magic number now sits at two to claim the 2009 PBC regular season championship.

The Saints also honored Kaelin Farrington, the lone senior on the 2009 team, following the doubleheader, as the Watkinsvile, Ga., native played her final regular season game at home under the lights in a North Georgia uniform.

In game one, it was all North Georgia with runs in each of the first five innings to take an 8-0 five-inning victory.  Courtney McGuire paced the Saints at the plate, going 3-3 with a triple, double, and run scored, while Hilary Cox led off the second frame and blasted her fourth home run of the season in the two-run second inning.

Sarah Phillips went the distance for the Saints in the opener, allowing just one hit while striking out nine Bearcat batters in five innings.  Hayley Leissner (9-18) suffered the loss, allowing six runs on eight hits while striking out five in 3.0 innings of work.

In the nightcap, North Georgia jumped off the deck once again in the opening frame, this time with six runs on six consecutive hits. Leslee Smith drove home the first two runs of the game with a double, and Pilar Harden followed with a single to plate Smith and make it 3-0. Cox continued the string of hits with a single to left center to bring home another run in the six-run first.

After Cox added RBI hits in the second and fourth innings to make it 9-0, Lander University mounted a rally in the fifth inning to keep the game alive. After Trisha Snider came on in relief to start the fifth inning, the Bearcats put three straight hits together to score a pair of runs.  Aubrie Phillips provided the fireworks with a two-run double to plate Lindsey Sammons and Carrie Hudson and make it 9-2.

The Saints would have the last at-bat however, as Harden and Cox singled to start the sixth inning, which brought Caroline Bower who delivered her first career home run to send North Georgia to victory in walk-off fashion.

Cox recorded four hits in the nightcap, while McGuire went a perfect 3-3 once again, this time adding a walk to the mix to reach base seven times in the doubleheader. Bower had a career day, adding a run-scoring triple to her three-run homer to drive in four runs.  Harden tallied three hits in the nightcap, while Smith drove in a pair of runs.

Sarah Phillips (25-1) continued her impressive work on the mound, picking up her second win of the day in 6.0 innings of work. The sophomore allowed just two hits in game two, and three base hits on the day. Phillips is second in the nation in all of NCAA Division II with 25 wins on the season.

The Saints return to action on Friday evening with the chance to clinch the 2009 PBC regular season championship with a sweep of the Hurricanes at Georgia Southwestern State University. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.