April 3, 2010

Six Home Runs Send Saints To Sweep of Mars Hill

Game 1 | Game 2

MARS HILL, NC – The top-ranked North Georgia softball team continued their perfection on Saturday afternoon, traveling to Mars Hill and silencing the Lions with 5-0 and 10-1 victories in non-conference action at Ponder Field.

North Georgia’s historic season is now stretched to 35-0 on the year, playing their final two non-conference games currently on the schedule as the Saints have just six games remaining in the regular season. Mars Hill falls to 21-12 on the year.

In game one, North Georgia jumped all over the Lions in the first inning as Leslee Smith followed a sacrifice fly from Courtney McGuire with her team-leading eight home run of the year, a two-run blast to center to cap a three-run frame in the first.

The Saints added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, using home runs once again as Natasha Willemse and Laura Voyles notched solo shots in the respective innings to give North Georgia a 5-0 victory.

Game two was much closer early in the contest as North Georgia scored in the first inning as Smith reached on a fielding error to score Voyles and make it a 1-0 lead, but Mars Hill would respond in the bottom half of the inning as Rebekah Huff singled and later tied the game when Natalie Haithcox singled through the right side.

After a scoreless second frame, North Georgia took the lead for good in the third, using just three hits, two of which were home runs, to put a five spot on the scoreboard and take commanding 6-1 lead. Katherine Martin came to the dish with the bases loaded and continuing her clutch hitting with a grand slam down the left line to clear the bases, and Pilar Harden followed and made it back-to-back bombs with a solo shot to center field, her second homer in the last three games.

The Saints continued to go yard in the fourth when McGuire stepped to the plate with a pair of runners on and blasted a home run to left center, her fourth long ball of the year to make it 9-1. North Georgia added a single run in the fifth on their way to a 10-1 victory in five innings.

Sarah Phillips (28-0) was the winner in both games, tossing a complete-game shutout with four strikeouts in the opener, while allowing a run on two hits in three innings of work in game two. Krysten Connelly came on in relief in the nightcap and picked up right where she left off after her impressive performance at Alabama-Huntsville, recording two shutout innings with one strikeout and no hits.

North Georgia will now turn their attention to Tuesday afternoon as they welcome Columbus State to town for a doubleheader at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium. The Saints’ magic number to claim their second straight Peach Belt Conference regular season championship is now just two, giving North Georgia the chance to clinch the title against the Cougars with a doubleheader sweep.

The Saints have won 28 straight regular season Peach Belt Conference games, and will look to set the mark of consecutive wins in program history on Tuesday afternoon, the current record sits at 35, a record set during the 2003 season.

First pitch for the doubleheader, which has been designated as the program’s fifth annual “Cancer Awareness Day,” will take place at 2:00 p.m.

North Georgia and Columbus State will take a few minutes before the first game to honor those who taught us to fight and recognize those who continue the fight against cancer. The softball program would also like to invite anyone currently fighting cancer to participate in a brief on-field ceremony between games.

2010 Cancer Awareness t-shirts will be available at the stadium for a $10.00 donation to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.  All proceeds will go to cancer research and finding a cure.