March 23, 2009

#3 Saints Crush Six Home Runs, Sweep Cougars

Game 1 | Game 2

DAHLONEGA, GA – 3rd-ranked North Georgia picked up an 8-0 victory in five innings in the opener before blasting four home runs in the nightcap for a 6-2 victory and a doubleheader sweep over visiting Columbus State University Monday afternoon in Peach Belt Conference action.

The Saints improve to 29-3 overall and 7-1 in the Peach Belt Conference as they continue a streak that has seen them win 21 out of their last 22 games, while Columbus State falls to a game under .500 at 21-22 overall and 5-5 in the league.

In game one, the Saints scored a run in the first inning as Laura Voyles launched a leadoff home run to right center to give North Georgia a 1-0 lead. Kim Stercay promptly followed in the second frame, leading off and belting a solo shot to left field to make it 2-0. Voyles added another run later in the inning with double to right center, plating Kaelin Farrington who reached on a two-out walk to give the Saints a 3-0 advantage.

North Georgia added two more runs in the third inning as Pilar Harden singled up the middle to bring Courtney McGuire home from third base, and Stercay continued her clutch hitting later in the frame with a single to plate Harden and make it 5-0.

With a five-run lead heading to the last of the fifth, the Saints put a lid on the contest, scoring three more runs to come away with the 8-0 five-inning victory. Voyles added another RBI when she was hit by a pitch force another run home, and Kasey Knight ended the game with a two-run single to left, sending Farrington and Stephanie Farmakis racing for plate.

Sarah Phillips tossed a no-hitter in the five-inning win as she struck out seven and hit a batter to face one over the minimum.

Britni McCall (4-5) took the defeat in the opener, giving up seven runs on 10 hits, while striking out two and walking one in 4.0 innings of work.

In game two, Columbus State put the pressure on the Saints early, as Ginny Walsh crushed a double to left field, bringing Brittany Leverett and Christie Thompson home to give the Cougars a 2-0 first-inning lead.

Columbus State held the North Georgia bats quiet through the first two innings, but the Saints came alive in the third frame with a pair of solo home runs to tie the game. Newly named PBC Freshman of the Week, Hilary Cox led off the inning with her third home run in the last last five games, launching the solo blast to left field to cut the Cougars’ lead in half at 2-1. Two batters later, Voyles stepped to the dish and crushed her second homer of the day, this time sending the long ball to left field to tie the game 2-2.

In the fourth inning, the Saints played long ball again, as newly tabbed PBC Player of the Week, Leslee Smith led off the inning and smashed her sixth home run of the year to give North Georgia the lead for good. Cox added another run later in the inning, doubling to right center to bring Farmakis around to score and make it 4-2.

Harden capped the scoring in the fifth inning with North Georgia’s sixth home run of the day, this one never leaving the field however, as the freshman sent a liner down the right field line and managed to come all the way around to score for the inside the park home run. Smith scored on the play as the Saints took a 6-2 lead, a score that held true to the final out.

Phillips (19-1) went the distance again in the nightcap to pick up her second victory of the day, allowing six hits and two earned runs while striking out three in 7.0 innings of work.

Kristi Bullard (9-10) suffered the loss, lasting 3.2 innings and allowing four runs on five hits while striking out one.

The Saints will have Tuesday off before getting right back to action on Wednesday afternoon as they welcome Drury University to town for a doubleheader set to start at 2:00 p.m.