March 23, 2012

No. 3 Saints Sweep Away Hurricanes in Peach Belt Action

Contact: David Beall,

AMERICUS, GA – The 3rd-ranked North Georgia softball team got back to their winning ways on Friday afternoon, sweeping both ends of a doubleheader at Georgia Southwestern in Peach Belt Conference action.

Game 1: North Georgia 8, Georgia Southwestern 1

Jessica Coan (19-5) was back to her usual self in game one, tossing a complete game and not giving up an earned run, while striking out 16 Hurricane batters.

Coan and the Saints were forced to play from behind when Georgia Southwestern picked up an unearned in the third inning. The run for the Hurricanes was the 17th unearned run North Georgia has allowed in 35 games.

The Saints appeared to be down and out in the last of the 6th inning with the bases empty, two outs and trailing by a run. Hilary Cox stepped to the plate looking to start a two-out rally and she did just that when she reached on a walk.

Karlie Gillam followed and roped a double to left field to put two runners in scoring position for Sarah Johnson. The sophomore promptly lined a single up the middle to plate a pair and give the Saints a 2-1 lead.

North Georgia continued to add to their lead in the seventh inning, scoring six runs on four hits, including a grand slam off the bat of Johnson to give the Saints an 8-1 come-from-behind victory.

Game 2: North Georgia 5, Georgia Southwestern 2

The Saints jumped on top of the Hurricanes early and never looked back as they cruised to a 5-2 win in game two and completed their sweep of Georgia Southwestern.

Kayla Minger got the scoring going for North Georgia in the top of the second inning when her RBI double allowed Karlie Gillam to come around and score to give the Saints an early 1-0 lead. Minger finished 1-for-3 with that one RBI and also drew a walk.

Senior leader Hilary Cox blew the game open the next inning when her three-run home run gave the Saints a 4-0 lead over the host Hurricanes. Cox led the way offensively with her only hit being the biggest of the game as she finished 1-for-3 at the plate with three RBI's and a run scored.

Melissa Dickie got the start for the Saints in game two, but it was Coan who picked up the win in the game, as she threw the majority of the action with five innings.

Coan threw five quality shutdown innings, allowing just one earned run on two hits. She struck out six batters on her way to earning her 20th win of the season.

Johnson added to her impressive day with another RBI and a double, when she came through in the seventh to give North Georgia an insurance run they would show not to need. Johnson hit a two-out double to left center, allowing Taylor Merritt to come and give the Saints a 5-2 lead that hold until the very end.

In a day that started off slow for the No. 3 team in the country, North Georgia proved to be too much in the end for Georgia Southwestern, as they picked up their 30th win of the season and moved to 4-2 in Peach Belt action.

The Saints will have Saturday as a travel day before taking on Columbus State at Cougar Field in Peach Belt Conference action. The doubleheader in Columbus, Ga., will put a lid on eight straight road games for North Georgia to open the conference slate. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.