March 20, 2010

No. 1 Saints Sweep Away No. 10 Jags, Stay Perfect

Photos by Luzny Photography

Game 1 | Game 2

DAHLONEGA, GA – In a battle of top 10 teams in the country, No. 1 North Georgia passed another test with a 5-2 and 8-0 doubleheader sweep of No. 10 Augusta State University as the two battled for the top spot in the Peach Belt Conference championship race.

Before first pitch, a dedication for Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium took place in front of a packed house as more than 300 spectators were on hand for the event. North Georgia president Dr. David Potter and Director of Athletics Randy Dunn recognized Haines and Carolyn Hill with a plaque on the field before unveiling lettering on the newly built stadium.

The Saints passed one of their toughest test of the season on Saturday afternoon, improving to 27-0 overall on the season and 12-0 in league action as North Georgia moved one step closer to claiming their second straight Peach Belt Conference regular season title. Augusta State falls to 25-9 overall on the season, while dropping their first two conference games and moving to 8-2 in league action.

In game one, Augusta State jumped on top in the first inning without the benefit of a hit, using a leadoff walk by Leann Barber who later came around to score the game’s first run on a Jessica Thornton groundout to give the Jags a 1-0 lead.

The Saints responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the opening inning, using a two-out double down the left line by Leslee Smith to bring Lauren Dykes all the way around to the plate as the freshman avoided the tag and tied the game 1-1.

The Jaguars took the lead right back in the fourth inning, using three hits, including a single down the left field off the bat of Kacee Camp to bring Kristen Jones home fo the go ahead run and make it a 2-1 ASU lead.

The Saints woke up in the last of the fourth and jumped right back on top as Katherine Martin unloaded on her first career home run, a line drive blast to left center to plate Whitney Holman and give North Georgia a 3-2 advantage.

Senior Leslee Smith continued her big day in the fifth inning as she followed a Courtney McGuire walk with her team-leading seventh home run of the year, a two-run bomb to left center, giving the Saints all the runs they would need in a 5-2 game one victory.

Sara DeMuth (11-3) suffered the loss, allowing all five runs on just four hits, while walking four and striking out six. Sarah Phillips ran her record to 20-0 on the year, recording her 18th complete game of the season with six hits and two runs, one earned, as the junior punched out five Jaguar batters.

In game two, North Georgia got off to another quick start, this time adding a pair of runs in each of the two innings to jump out to a 4-0 lead. In the first inning, Courtney McGuire singled home the first run of the game, while Smith’s sacrifice fly made it a two-run opening frame.

Lauren Dykes provided the offense in the second inning, a two-run single through the right side, plating Kasey Knight and Natasha Willemse to make it a 4-0 game.

Both offenses were no where to be found until the sixth inning when the Saints loaded the bases and Hilary Cox belted a grand slam to left center, clearing the bases and giving North Georgia an 8-0 walk-off win in six innings.

Phillips (21-0) took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before a DeMuth’s double gave Augusta State their only hit of the contest. Phillips recorded five strikeouts and walked just one in all 6.0 innings of work, her 19th complete game of the season.

Emily Corish (9-4) was tagged with the loss for the Jaguars, allowing four runs on five hits in just 1.2 innings of work. 

The Saints return to action on Wednesday afternoon, putting their perfect record on the line against in-state rival West Georgia with a doubleheader at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium. First pitch of the double dip is set for 2:00 p.m. in Dahlonega.