SALEM, VA — Top-ranked North Georgia continued its winning ways in the NCAA Division II Softball National Championships on Friday.
After allowing two runs in the top of the 11th inning, the Lady Saints rallied in the bottom half to score three runs capped by a walk-off single by Laura Voyles en route to a 3-2 victory.
With the win, the Lady Saints, who have not lost a game in 66 days, improve to 50-3 on the season, tying a school record for victories and improving to 2-0 in the tournament.
North Georgia advances to Sunday’s semifinal game, which will be played at noon, to take on a team to be determined.
The game was scoreless through the first 10 innings as Angelo State’s Chelsea Nelson and North Georgia’s Sarah Phillips battled to keep their respective opponents off the board.
North Georgia had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with no outs. But a fly out to center field followed by a ground out to the pitcher and a line drive to shortstop ended the threat.
Angelo State found its offense in the top of the 11th when, after a groundout to open the inning, Alix Dean singled with one out.
Megan Pumphrey was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second and April Haywood followed that with a single through the left side of the infield to score the game’s first run. Nicole Smith followed with a single to put the Rambelles up 2-0 entering the bottom of the 11th.
North Georgia, which won its first game of the championship in walk-off fashion, continued their flair for the dramatic with another last-inning win.
Pilar Harden opened the Lady Saints half of the 11th inning by reaching on an error.
Hilary Cox then singled and Stephanie Farmakis walked to load the bases with no outs.
Kayla Martin reached on a fielder’s choice which forced out Harden at the plate, but Kaelin Farrington then stepped to the plate and lined a two-run single to right center, sending the North Georgia fans into eruption.
Trisha Snider was thrown out at third on the play for the second out of the game, but Laura Voyles made up for the out, lining a ball off the third baseman’s glove, bringing a racing Farrington home from second for the game-winning run.
Sarah Phillips (39-1) battled all day long, going all 11 innings while allowing 11 hits, two earned runs and a pair of walks. She struck out 12 Angelo State batters and extended her winning streak to 36 consecutive games.
Chelsea Nelson (31-5) took the loss for Angelo State, giving up two earned runs on just four hits and striking out four while walking six.