– The top-ranked North Georgia softball team hit the midway
point of their grueling 20-game Peach Belt Conference schedule on
Thursday afternoon, playing host to USC Aiken and taking down the
Pacers 4-0 and 3-1 to keep pace in the race for the PBC regular
The Saints continue their historic streak, winning their 25th consecutive game to start the season, improving to 25-0 overall, while jumping into the double-digit category in wins in the league, moving to 10-0 in Peach Belt Conference action.
The Pacers fall to a game under the .500 mark for the first time this season at 12-13 overall, while dropping to 4-6 in league action. The Saints avenge their only loss in league action last season, as USC Aiken was the only blemish in their 17-1 mark in PBC action last year.
In game one, the Saints got all the offense they would need in the first three innings as Leslee Smith provided the first two runs in the opening inning with a chopper down the left field line to bring Lauren Dykes and Courtney McGuire racing home.
North Georgia took their two-run lead to the second frame where Laura Voyles drove in a run, singling through the right side to make it a 3-0 lead for the home team. Pilar Harden capped the offence in the game with a single up the middle in the third frame, scoring Hilary Cox and providing the winning margin in a 4-0 victory.
In game two, the Saints continued their trend of early scoring as McGuire connected with her third home run of the year, a bullet to right center, just clearing the fence, and giving North Georgia a 2-0 first-inning advantage. Dykes stepped to the plate in the second inning with two outs and the bases jammed, but the freshman sent a fly to deep center to end the rally.
USC Aiken scored their only run of the doubleheader in the third frame as Kellie Hair singled to lead off the inning, and Brady Bossle followed and was plunked to put two Pacers on the paths for the first time in the game. After a passed ball moved the runners up a base, Lauren Locklear grounded out to the second base to bring Hair racing home and cut the Saints’ lead in half at 2-1.
North Georgia added an insurance run in the fifth inning as Voyles coaxed a walk to start the inning and stole second before an error allowed the senior to race all the way around to third. Lauren Dykes worked a full count at the plate before a groundout sent Voyles to the plate and gave the Saints a 3-1 edge.
Sarah Phillips ran her record to 19-0 with two more complete-game victories, allowing just three hits and no runs in the opener, while the senior allowed a run on three hits in the nightcap. Phillips recorded four strikeouts in the opener andpicked up six more in game two.
Toni Flessate (6-5) was the losing pitcher in game two, going all 6.0 innings and allowing three runs on five hits, while striking out two and walking three.
On Saturday, the Saints will welcome in-state rival and 10th-ranked Augusta State to town for an early showdown in what could decide the 2010 Peach Belt Conference regular season champion. The Jaguars are 22-6 overall on the season with a perfect 8-0 mark in the league.
ASU is up two spots in the latest poll to round out the top 10 and is only other PBC school in ranking. First pitch of a doubleheader against the Jaguars is slated for 2:00 p.m., immediately followed the dedication for Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium set to start at 1:45 p.m.