FLORENCE, SC – The 3rd-ranked North Georgia softball team started their quest for a third straight PBC Tournament Title on Friday afternoon, blanking UNC Pembroke 8-0 in five inning in the opening round at Freedom Florence Park.
The Saints continue to dominate the PBC Tournament, moving to 13-2 all-time in the tournament and 4-0 first-round games, as North Georgia improves to 44-9 overall on the year. The Braves fall 21-23 and move to Friday afternoon's loser's bracket game at 4:00 p.m. against Augusta State.
North Georgia will also play Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., taking on Flagler College in the winner's bracket for the right to advance to the semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints jumped all over the Braves in the early going, scoring all eight runs in the first three innings to cruise out to an 8-0 victory. Pilar Harden provided the big blow in the first inning, launching a two-run blast down the left line to cap a three-run first inning.
The offense went right back to work in the second frame, as Natasha Willemse led off and tripled down the right field line, and came home to score on an Ansley Williams sacrifice fly. Harden and Katherine Martin then tallied back-to-back RBI's to lead to a four-run inning and give the Saints a commanding 7-0 lead.
After Williams single home another run in the fourth, Jessica Coan (23-4) did the rest, tossing a complete game two-hit shutout for the victory. The PBC Pitcher of the Year tallied 11 strikeouts and threw just 69 pitches in the win. Natalie Klemann (7-8) suffered the loss, allowing right runs on as many hits, while striking out a pair.