April 15, 2012

Harden Clutches Up, Dickie and Coan Power Saints Past Lander

Contact Joey Daniels, jddani9448@northgeorgia.edu

GREENWOOD, SC – North Georgia used dominating pitching and a clutch hit to sweep Lander on Sunday, 3-1 and 2-1 to help boost their win streak at Doug Spears Field.

Game: 1 North Georgia 3 Lander 1

Karlie Gillam got the Saints (41-7, 15-3 PBC) off on the right track right away in the first inning, when she hit a two-run home run over the centerfield wall.

Gillam would finish 1-for-3 with the two RBI's and a run scored, pushing her team-high batting average to .341.

That was all the scoring that Melissa Dickie (16-0) would need, as she remained perfect on the season and now has her self right in the running for freshman of the year.

Dickie threw her 11th complete game en route to picking up yet another win. She finished the game with no earned runs and six hits allowed, dropping her ERA to a team-best 1.19.

Also coming through with hits were Hilary Cox, Sarah Johnson, Kayla Minger and Tiffanie Burns.

Pilar Harden would score on the home run ball by Gillam, while Johnson would score in the seventh inning to give the Saints some insurance. Harden walked three times in the game.

Despite being outhit by Lander (26-26, 4-16 PBC) 6-5, Dickie and her strong defense limited the host Bearcats to just one extra-base hit.

Game 2: North Georgia 2 Lander 1 (8 innings)

The drama picked up in the second game of the doubleheader, as all three seniors would play in intricate part in the win.

With two outs in the seventh inning and the No. 13-ranked Saints trailing a struggling Lander team in the Peach Belt Conference this season, the senior class would have none of it.

After Callie Fernandez drew a key hit by pitch with two down, Katie Block came on to pinch run, accounting for the tying run.

Harden stepped up to the plate, drew a full count, then roped the game-tying RBI double to rightcenter, allowing Block to slide head first into home plate to tie the game at one a piece.

Harden has been arguably the hottest hitter for the Saints as of late, boosting her average to .322 over the past few weeks. She finished 2-for-3 with a walk and the ever-important RBI.

Not to go unnoticed was the return of Jessica Coan (22-6) to the rotation. The senior looked as if she hadn't missed a beat, throwing eight strong innings allowing just one earned run.

She struck out nine batters and only surrendered three hits, looking untouchable once again. 

Hilary Cox would have a say as well in this outcome, as she went 2-for-4 at the plate and played an outstanding game defensively.

The three seniors made sure the Saints would not have a slip up on the road, and would be sure to keep their hopes of a fourth straight PBC crown alive.

North Georgia scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, when Katherine Martin singled to bring in Taylor Anne Merrit, who was brough on to pinch run for Cox.

The Saints would leave runners stranded failing to extend the lead, but Coan only needed one.


The winning continues for coach Davenport's Saints, as they have now won 11 in a row including five consecutive PBC conference sweeps.

The final games of the 2012 season are this Thursday when North Georgia will host Francis Marion. The games are scheduled for 6:00 and 8:00 PM.

The Peach Belt Conference Tournament will be this coming weekend in Columbus, Georgia. The Saints have locked up the No. 2 seed in the tournament, with an outside shot at the No. 1 overall seed.