March 30, 2010

#1 Saints Charge Past #6 UAH, Stay Unbeaten

Game 1 | Game 2

HUNTSVILLE, AL – No. 1 North Georgia and No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville met in a much-anticipated match-up of top 10 teams as the Saints rallied in extra innings to steal game one, before taking the nightcap to run by the Chargers and stay perfect on the 2010 season.

The Saints continue the longest winning streak in the nation, improving to 33-0 overall on the year, while the University of Alabama-Huntsville falls to 24-7 after the doubleheader defeat. North Georgia continues their dominance of ranked teams, improving to 7-0 against teams ranked in the top-10, while moving to 8-0 against top-25 squads.

In game one, a thriller came down to the wire as Alabama-Huntsville was staring their final strike in the face, but Emily Roach had other plans as the junior unloaded and launched her sixth home run of the year, a three-run blast to knot the score at 4-4.

The Saints came out in the eighth inning and after Katherine Martin was placed on second to start the inning, Pilar Harden stepped to the plate and blasted her second homer of the year, a line drive to left center to put North Georgia right back on top at 6-4. Laura Voyles continued the onslaught two batters as the senior placed the second pitch she saw over the fence in left center, adding an insurance and giving the Saints all the runs they would need in a 7-4 extra-innings victory.

The Chargers scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning as Michelle Ingram reached on a fielder’s choice to send Roach home and give UAH a 1-0 lead. North Georgia responded in the fifth with a run of their own as Callie Fernandez grounded out to plate Katherine Martin and knot the score 1-1.

The Saints followed their game-tying run in the fifth with three more in the sixth inning to jump out to a 4-1 lead. Kayla Martin broke up the tie with a bases loaded single up the middle to score a pair, and Kasey Knight followed with an infield single to plate Harden and set up the late-inning fireworks.

Sarah Phillips (26-0 held on for the victory, allowing four runs and a season-high 12 hits to pick up the victory as the junior recorded seven strikeouts and handed out a pair of free passes. Whitney Hawkins (11-2) suffered the loss, giving up seven runs on 11 hits, while striking out five and walking two.

Game two featured scoring early and often as the Chargers jumped on top in the first inning thanks to a Beth Lawson solo blast to left center of the first pitch she saw to give UAH a 1-0 lead.

North Georgia came back in the second inning and took the lead as Fernandez grounded out to send Cox to the plate, and Knight followed and reached on an error plate another run and give the Saints a 2-1 lead.

The Saints tacked on three more runs in the third frame as Hilary Cox and Katherine Martin notched back-to-back RBI singles to make it a 4-1 game. Harden followed and capped the inning with a sacrifice fly, sending a shot to the fence in straight away center and bringing Willemse home to give North Georgia a 5-1 victory as both teams would go scoreless the rest of the way.

Kristen Connelly (5-0) snagged the win for the Saints in the nightcap, tossing 5.0 innings and allowing eight hits and one run while striking out two. Sarah Phillips came on in relief to record her third save of the season.

North Georgia returns to action on Saturday afternoon, traveling to Mars Hill for a pair of non-conference games against the Lions. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 1:00 p.m. in North Carolina.