March 19, 2011

Jaguars Pounce on Saints for Doubleheader Sweep

AUGUSTA, GA – The 4th-ranked North Georgia softball team suffered their first Peach Belt Conference loss in over two years on Saturday afternoon, dropping both ends of a doubleheader to Augusta State University at Jaguar Field.

The Saints, who had won 36 consecutive Peach Belt Conference games heading into Saturday's doubleheader, dropped game one 5-2, before falling 2-1 in a 10-inning marathon. North Georgia falls to 26-8 overall and 2-2 in league action, while Augusta State improves to 20-8 on the year and 3-1 in conference play.

The Jaguars jumped all over the Saints in game one, scoring three first-inning runs as Kacee Camp and Kaitlin Harris provided run-scoring doubles to give Augusta State the early lead.

North Georgia finally got on the board in the fifth inning when Kayla Martin belted her second home run of the year to left field, a solo shot to pull the Saints to within two runs at 3-1.

The Jaguars had an answer of their own in the bottom half of the inning however, scoring two runs on three hits and benefiting from one of North Georgia's two errors in the game to make it 5-1.

The Saints added a single run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Hilary Cox, but Augusta State held on for the 5-2 game-one victory. Sarah Phillips (11-4) was the losing pitcher, lasting 3.0 innings and giving up three runs on six hits. Heather Hughes (6-4) was the winner, tossing a complete game and allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out a pair.

Game two featured some early offense as both teams pushed across single runs in the first inning. Cox brought home the North Georgia run with a single to left field, and Jessica Thornton singled up the middle to plate the Jaguar run and knot the score at 1-1 after an inning of play.

Pitching and defense would take over from there as eight straight scoreless innings sent the game to the 10th frame still tied at a run apiece. With North Georgia set down in order in the top half of the inning, Augusta State came through in the bottom half and Thornton raced home to score the winning run and give the Jaguars a 2-1 victory and doubleheader sweep over the Saints.

Jessica Coan (11-3) was the tough-luck loser, going all 9.0 innings and allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out nine. The junior issued eight walks, the final of which came home for the game winning run. Emily Headrick (9-2) earned the win, pitching a complete-game and allowing seven hits and one run.

The Saints will look to get back on track on Sunday, continuing the team's current four-game road trip by traveling to USC Aiken for a doubleheader against the Pacers. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m. in another Peach Belt Conference series.