Tiffanie Burns hit a walk-off grand slam over the left field wall as the University of North Georgia Nighthawks earned a 9-5 win over No. 2 seed Georgia College in 12 innings.
With the win, UNG is a win away from its fourth trip to the NCAA Division II softball championship.
The two teams will face off tomorrow with game two set for a 1 p.m., first pitch at Hill Stadium. Georgia College will be the designated home team for the game. If the Bobcats were to force the if necessary game three, North Georgia would be the home team by virtue of a coin flip before the series began.
“There are really no words. Credit to both teams, Georgia College didn’t deserve to lose that game,” UNG skipper Mike Davenport said. “We may have won it there in the bottom of the 12th, but they had opportunities and we had opportunities. I guess that’s what (the Super Regional) round is supposed to be like, but I commend both teams that fought through the game and we were fortunate to run into one at the end.”
Faith Flanders put Georgia College up 3-0 with a three-run lined shot over the center field wall before an unearned run in the sixth put the visitors up 4-0.
But Ansley Phillips scored two runners on a single to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth before Burns scored from third in the same inning to cut the lead to 4-3.
Bobcat pitcher Marisa Boyette was called for an illegal pitch to bring Hannah McSwain home to knot the game at 4-all.
Georgia College pitched around Kim McMillan (three hits), which brought Burns to the plate with the bases loaded. She fouled off two pitches, then blasted her grand slam on a 2-2 count to earn the win.
Courtney Poole (41-3) earned the marathon win by pitching all 12 innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits while recording 10 strikeouts.