Saints Slide by Flagler in Must Win, Force Decisive Third Game
DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia softball team forced a decisive game three in the NCAA Southeast Super Regional on Saturday afternoon, taking game two 3-0 over Flagler College at The Hill.
The Saints (49-9) won the pitchers duel shutting out their opponent for the 16th time this season, while Flagler (38-18) was shutout for the first time this year in postseason play.
Melissa Dickie (21-0) was masterful once again tossing a complete game shutout and scattering three hits, while striking out three. Dickie continues to impress during her freshman campaign, as the Daktronics Southeast Region Pitcher of the Year has not allowed an earned run in her last 21 innings of work.
The complete game shutout was her seventh of the season and she held an opponent to three hits or fewer for the 15th time this season.
Donna Munafo (20-6) was the tough luck loser tossing a complete game and allowing three runs on eights hits, while striking out four.
Both offenses were quiet early until North Georgia opened the scoring in the top of the sixth inning, plating a pair of runs on two hits. Senior Hilary Cox got the rally started when she was plunked by Munafo. Karlie Gillam's sac bunt attempt was successful and Alona Personius came off the bag early on the throw.
With runners on first and second and no outs Katherine Martin lined single to left field bringing pinch runner Katie Garrett racing home. With heads up base running Martin moved up to second on the throw. After a Sarah Johnson groundout Kayla Minger delivered another big hit for North Georgia, singling through the left side to bring pinch runner Taylor Merritt charging home.
Munafo was able to get out of the jam as North Georgia tried to pull a fast one on Flagler as Martin was gunned out at home.
North Georgia added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Pilar Harden launched her eighth homer of the season, a solo shot, to left center.
In the home half of the seventh Flagler threatened, starting the inning with back-to-back singles by Personius and Lauren Bessent. Dickie buckled down and retired the next three hitters in a row striking out Marissa Blake to seal the victory.
The North Georgia win sets up a winner take all game three in the Southeast Super Regional with a birth to the 2012 Division II College World Series on the line. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Mike Davenport and his Saints are looking to make their fourth straight appearance in the National Championships.