Upset bid falls short
AMERICUS - The Georgia Southwestern softball team played 4th-ranked North Georgia even at 1-1 until the final inning of Game 1 in Friday's Peach Belt Conference doubleheader at Lady 'Canes Field, when a solo home run led the Saints to a 2-1 victory. North Georgia carried that momentum into the nightcap, rolling past GSW, 11-3.
The Lady Hurricanes have lost five straight and fall to 20-26 overall and 4-12 in league play. North Georgia has won eight in-a-row and improves to 34-8 overall on the year and 10-2 in the PBC to take over the top spot in the league for the first time this season.
The long ball doomed GSW in Game 1 as a pair of solo home runs propelled the Saints to a one-run victory. Hilary Cox got things started in the first inning with a well-hit low line drive that cleared the fence in left center to put North Georgia on top.
The Lady 'Canes bounced back in the fifth inning and knotted the score at a run apiece when Lyndi Duff legged out an infield single, and Jessica Martin followed with a double to left field, sending Duff around to score.
NGCSU would break the deadlock in the seventh inning as Katherine Martin led off and drilled the game-winning, solo home run to centerfield.
Jessica Coan held GSW scoreless in the seventh inning, striking out the side to earn her 17th victory of the season. She allowed four hits and added 12 strikeouts in the complete-game effort.
Lyndi Duff finished 2-for-3 in Game 1 to lead GSW at the plate.
In the nightcap, North Georgia scored 11 runs on as many hits to cruise to an 11-3 victory. The Saints scored seven runs over the final two innings to pull away from GSW.
Things unravelled for the Lady Hurricanes in the fourth when North Georgia broke open a 1-1 game with three runs behind three hits and two GSW errors. The Saints scored two of the three runs with no outs in the the inning.
North Georgia added five more runs in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Christie Shankle (5-10) suffered the loss for GSW after allowing seven runs - six earned - on eight hits and four walks in five innings of work. She struck out four. Burns faced the final 13 batters, struck out one and surrendered four runs - two earned - on three hits and two walks.
Coan (18-3) picked up another win in the nightcap, tossing 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs - one earned - and striking out eight batters, while walking one. Krysten Connelly came on in relief, recording the final five outs, allowing a run and adding two strikeouts.
The Lady Hurricanes did not have a batter with multiple hits in the second game.
GSW returns to action on Sunday afternoon against Lander. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. at Lady 'Canes Field. It's the 2011 home finale for Southwestern and the four GSW seniors - Nichole Griffin, Heather Hodge, Tiffany Milstid and Katie Mueller - will be recognized between games of the doubleheader.