March 23, 2012

Score Two For Goliath

AMERICUS, Ga. – After splitting a double header with one twenty-win team, the Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes were looking to do the same with another twenty-win team. The problem was it was the # 3 North Georgia Saints that came into Americus on Friday afternoon. The Lady 'Canes would take a one-run lead into the sixth inning of game one before dropping it and game two. The visiting Saints swept GSW by scores of 8-1, 5-2.

GAME ONE: Georgia Southwestern – 1  # 3 North Georgia – 8

This game featured a battle of two aces for both staffs. Jessica Martin was on the bump for Georgia Southwestern who leads the teams in strikeouts. Her counterpart was the Peach Belt Conference's strikeout leader in Jessica Coan. The two hurlers would give up a combined run through five innings of action.

After two scoreless innings, the Lady Hurricanes would take the lead in the third inning courtesy of a Mason Moreland single. Moreland would drive in Jessica Chewning who previously reached base on a dropped strike three by North Georgia catcher Mackenzie Arlt. The one-run lead would last until the sixth inning.

Going into the sixth inning Jessica Martin would have another quality start going. She had scattered four hits, walked one batter and struck out three Saints in her five scoreless innings leading up to that point. She would relinquish the lead in the top of the sixth as Sarah Johnson would drive in two runs with a single up the middle.

North Georgia would blow the game open with a six-run outburst in the top of the seventh inning. After Arlt and Karlie Gillam each drove in a RBI, Sarah Johnson would hit a grand slam to cap off the inning. With the score 8-1, the Lady Hurricanes would go down in the bottom of the seventh without cutting into the North Georgia lead.

North Georgia starting pitcher Jessica Coan would go the distance in the start to earn her 19th win of the season. She scattered four hits, gave up no earned runs and struck out 16 GSW hitters in game one.

GAME TWO: Georgia Southwestern – 2  # 3 North Georgia – 5

North Georgia would front load their scoring in game two as they would lead for the entire game. Their one-run second inning would be followed up with a three spot in the third as they held the upper hand after drawing first blood.

Kayla Minger would kick off the scoring action with a RBI double to centerfield in the second inning. The runs would come in the next inning courtesy of a Hillary Cox three-run home run, which was one of four extra base hits for the visitors.

Prior to scoring in the third, the Blue & Gold had threatened in the second inning getting two runners on with one out after Rachel McElroy reached on an error and Brittny Dennison walked.  Neither would score after Jessica Chewning and Janna Anderson would be fanned by North Georgia's Melissa Dickie.

Mason Moreland would get GSW on the board with as she drew a walk and Katie Wooten scored from third as the fourth ball got away from Arlt the catcher. GSW would score again two innings later. The third inning action would force the Saints to pull Dickie the starter early. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes Jessica Coan was brought back in out of the North Georgia bullpen.

The North Georgia lead would be cut to two runs in the fifth.  Janna Anderson cut the lead with one swing as she sailed a Jessica Coan pitch deep over the left field fence for her first home run in a Georgia Southwestern uniform. The Lady 'Canes would never come any closer than two runs as North Georgia would tack on an insurance run in the seventh inning to finalize the 5-2 win.

Jessica Coan would get her 20th win of the season (second of the day) in relief for the Saints. In game two, she pitched five innings giving up one run over two hits while striking out four more Lady Hurricanes.

Mason Moreland would lead the team in hitting on the day. Over the course of the two games, the second baseman had two hits in five at-bats with two RBI's and one walk. She has now reached base safely in GSW's last seven games. It's the second longest streak of the season for Moreland who previously reached base in twelve consecutive games earlier this season.

The two more additional conference losses makes it eight straight PBC losses for the Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes (13-21, 0-8 PBC). Coach Ward and company will have two more chances to tally their first conference win on Sunday, March 25th. The Lander Lady Bearcats will pay the Blue & Gold a visit at Lady Canes Field with the double header set to begin at 1:30 p.m.