DECATUR, Ala. – The 12th-ranked University of North Georgia softball team began its third early season tournament Friday with a pair of wins. The Saints (8-2) started things off with a 6-4 victory over the University of West Alabama before claiming a dominating 9-0 win over the University of Charleston (WV) in five innings.
Game 1: #12 North Georgia 6, West Alabama 4
The Tigers (3-1) claimed the first run of the game when Michal Rober sent a sacrifice fly to center field to score Anna Shartze in the top of the first inning; however, the Saints had an answer in the bottom of the inning as Kayla Minger singled through the right side to score Taylor Anne Merritt.
From there, North Georgia went on to score five more runs over the next three innings spurred by a Tiffanie Burns home run in the third inning.
North Georgia's final run of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Merritt singled to left field, scoring Sarah Johnson from third.
The Tigers were able to keep things interesting as they scored two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth to pull within two, but that was as close as they would come as North Georgia held off their late-game drive.
Merritt finished the game 2-2 at the plate with the one run batted in and two runs scored while Burns went 2-3 including her solo homer.
Senior Krysten Connelly claimed her first win of the season as she pitched six innings with four strikeouts while freshman Courtney Poole came in for the final inning to claim her first save. Jessica Broc suffered her first loss of the season in 3.2 innings of work after she gave up eight hits and six earned runs for the Tigers.
Game 2: #12 North Georgia 9, Charleston 0 (5 Innings)
The Saints' bats stayed hot into the second game as North Georgia was able to record 11 hits while run-ruling the University of Charleston Golden Eagles (0-3) in five innings.
The scoring drive started in the bottom of the first inning when Kim McMillan scored off a throwing error by the Charleston third baseman. Katherine Martin then batted Merritt in to push the score to 2-0 a few batters later.
The scoring cooled down for the next two innings, but heated back up in the fourth and fifth innings as the Saints plated four runs in the bottom of the fourth and another three in the fifth to cut the game short.
McMillan, Merritt, Gillam and Johnson were all solid at the plate for the Saints with multiple hits in the game. McMillan went 3-3 with three runs batted in while Merritt, Gillam and Johnson each went 2-3.
Poole pitched the complete game for the Saints to improve to 6-0 for the year. The freshman hurler gave up just three hits and struck out six batters while Morgan Acquirre was saddled with the loss for Charleston after giving up eight earned runs compared to just four strikeouts.
North Georgia will continue its time in the Charger Chillout tomorrow afternoon with a 2:00 p.m. game against the University of West Georgia before taking on Barry University at 6:00 p.m.