February 25, 2012

No. 2 Saints Use Late Magic to Edge No. 3 Lady Buffs on ESPN

Contact David Beall, jdbeall@northgeorgia.edu


KISSIMMEE, FL – When it counted the most, No. 2 North Georgia came through in the clutch as Kayla Minger delivered a two-out two-run double to give the Saints a 6-5 win in eight innings over No. 3 West Texas A&M Saturday afternoon at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Televised nationally on ESPN, the World Wide Leader in Sports got a good one as two of the top three teams in the country went to extra innings for the second straight day. This one had a different ending however; as the Saints had the last laugh and Minger came through to give North Georgia the walk off win. 

Coan appeared to be out of harms way in the top of the eighth inning as she struck out the first two batters after a runner was placed on second to start the frame, but a Meghan Slattery infield single brought in the go-ahead run. Coan would eventually strikeout the side in the inning, three of her eight punch-outs in the contest.

North Georgia (12-3) got the bats going early as they scored three runs in the second inning and one more in the third to take a commanding 4-0 lead. Karlie Gillam delivered a single to right center to plate the first run of the game, and Pilar Harden came through with a single up the middle to send two more runs racing home. 

West Texas A&M (10-2) would bounce back in the fifth inning and finally get on the board with a two-out rally, using three straight RBI singles to plate three runs and pull the Lady Buffs to within a run. After a walk loaded the bases, Tiffanie Burns made a running scoop and stepped on second to stop the threat and preserve the Saints' 4-3 lead.

North Georgia was three outs away from winning the game in regulation, but the Lady Buffs saw their leadoff hitter reach on an error and come around to score the tying run on a single to right field by Meghan Brown. 

The Saints had a chance for some two-out magic of their own in the bottom half of the seventh, as Hilary Cox coaxed a walk and Katherine Martin followed and drilled a double off the fence in left center. With the winning run at third, Callie Fernandez grounded out to first to end the threat and send the game to extra innings.

Jessica Coan (7-3) picked up the win, as she allowed 11 hits and three earned runs in all 8.0 innings of work. The three runs Coan allowed in the fifth inning were the first earned runs Coan has allowed in nearly two weeks, tossing 50.2 innings since giving up her last earned run. The Duluth, Georgia, native has an earned run average of 0.40 with 108 strikeouts in 70.0 innings of work. 

Martin finished the game a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, while Minger was 2-for-4 with the game-winning runs batted in.

The Saints return to action later this afternoon when they take on Kentucky State at the Disney Wide World of Sports on day two of the Disney Citrus Classic. First pitch is slated for 2:30 p.m.