DAHLONEGA — North Georgia continued its dominance in regional play on Sunday, taking out Flagler College 6-1 to capture a third straight NCAA Southeast Dahlonega Regional Championship at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.
Ranked in the nation’s top five for 29 straight weeks, North Georgia (50-9) advances to next week’s NCAA Southeast Super Regionals and will take on Lenoir-Rhyne after the Bears captured the Southeast Hickory Regional on Sunday. The Super Regionals will be a rematch of last year and will be held Friday and Saturday at a location to be announced by the NCAA.
With the win, North Georgia has swept the Southeast Dahlonega Regional for three consecutive seasons and have won 24 of its last 25 games dating back nearly two months.
North Georgia had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the first inning, loading the bases without the benefit of a hit, but Flagler starter Kelly Riddick notched back-to-back strikeouts before coaxing a fly out to end the threat.
Flagler had a chance of its own to jump on top early, as Alona Personius legged out a double with two outs, but Breezy Collings followed and popped up to shortstop to end the first inning.
North Georgia bounced back in the second inning when Kayla Martin led off the frame and drilled a line-drive home run just inside the left field foul pole to give the Saints a 1-0 lead. The long ball was the fifth of the year for the senior from Cumming.
Natasha Willemse had a chance to extend the lead in the third inning and she did just that, guiding a two-out bases loaded single up the middle to plate a pair and give North Georgia a 3-0 lead. After a walk to Ansley Williams loaded the bases again, Kasey Knight sent another single up the middle to send two more runners racing to plate and give the Saints a 5-0 third-inning advantage.
Flagler scored its lone run in the fifth inning on a double to left field off the bat of Lauren Ely to send Robyn Draper racing to the plate and make it 5-1. North Georgia answered right back with a run in the sixth inning on a ground out by Victoria St. Clair to cap the scoring and send the Saints to a 6-1 victory.
Jessica Coan (26-4) picked up the win, tossing a complete game and giving up just one run on four hits, while walking two and striking out seven. Kelly Riddick (20-5) was tagged with the loss, giving up three runs on as many hits in 3 2/3 innings of work.