DAHLONEGA — The top-ranked North Georgia College & State University softball team punched their ticket to the championship round of the NCAA Division II Southeast Dahlonega Regional with a 5-2 win over Francis Marion on Saturday afternoon at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.
The Saints (47-0) scored three runs in the first inning and two in the second and then relied on the right arm of undefeated pitcher Sarah Phillips and some stellar defense to get past the Patriots (34-15) for the fifth consecutive win in the season series between the two clubs.
“They are a very good team, and we like to think we are too,” said Francis Marion coach Stacey Vallee. “It’s constantly a good battle with them.”
The Saints got things rolling in the top of the first inning. Laura Voyles started the inning by lining a triple into the right field corner.
Two batters later, Courtney McGuire plated the first run with a deep sacrifice fly to left field. Leslee Smith was hit by a pitch and Hilary Cox doubled into the right field gap to give the Saints runners at second and third. Katherine Martin made it 3-0, driving a line drive single into the right field gap to score a pair of runs.
Phillips allowed two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks while striking out five.
Both teams finished the game with seven hits. Voyles led the North Georgia attack with three hits out of the leadoff spot to raise her average to .355 and also scored twice.
Smith, Cox, Martin and Knight each had a hit with McGuire and Martin each finished with a pair of RBI.
Wolf and Schneider each had two hits for the Patriots with Knox, Beauvais and Michelle Birchmeier each finished with a hit.