Posted: Sunday, May 11th 2014 at 9:22am
North Georgia wins through to Regional final in Dahlonega
By staff reports
DAHLONEGA -– After a full day of dodging local rains, the 2nd-ranked University of North Georgia softball team posted a pair of wins and now sits in the driver's seat of the 2014 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium. The second-ranked Nighthawks used a late rally to edge 8th-seeded Mount Olive before disposing of 4th-seeded Wingate 4-0 to advance to tomorrow's championship game.
In game one, both squads remained scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning, when designated hitter Jessica Finch ripped the ball into right center field on a play that saw first baseman Kim McMillan advance all the way from first base to score the game's first run.
Pinch runner Katie Garrett stepped in for Finch and promptly scored two batters later on a single down the third base line provided by left fielder Meagan May, making it a 2-0 contest.
Mount Olive threatened to pull a comeback in the top of the 7th, but UNG starting pitcher Courtney Poole overcame a hit with one out to the second batter of the inning by subsequently sitting down the next two Trojans, capping off her four-hit, six-strikeout outing with a seven-inning shutout win.
Hits came at a premium for both sides due to commendable outings by Poole and Mount Olive's Tiffany Hawley, and when it was all said and done a total of ten hits were tallied. Leading the way for the Nighthawks was McMillan, who went 2-for-3, and shortstop Tiffanie Burns, who ended the day with a perfect 2-for-2 mark.
The shutout was Poole's 9th of the season.
Against Wingate, the Nighthawks joined the hit parade in the bottom of the second inning courtesy of May, who launched a triple to left field. Right fielder Victoria Prince quickly took advantage of the situation, knocking May in with an RBI groundout to put North Georgia on top 1-0.
North Georgia found a rhythm in the bottom of the fifth inning, first tacking on two more runs to its total on a double by Finch to give the Nighthawks a 3-0 advantage. She then scored one batter later on a single by third baseman Kaitlyn Seabolt to pad UNG's lead to 4-0.
With five hits in the game, Wingate had a handful of opportunities to close the gap on North Georgia, but Sink's steady approach in the circle kept such events from transpiring. When it was all said and done, the senior from Hoschton recorded three strikeouts along with no walks for her 24th victory of the 2014 campaign.
Sink moves to 24-1 with the win after ending the showdown with five hits allowed. Among those to help UNG's offensive cause was Finch, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI's.
Wingate's Stacey Houser took the loss for the Bulldogs as five different players mustered a single apiece offensively.
Immediately following game one, the three members of the program were given a formal graduation ceremony at home plate led by UNG president Dr. Bonita Jacobs at home plate. Katie Garrett, Karlie Gillam (assistant coach) and Sarah Johnson were each awarded their bachelor's degrees.
North Georgia advances to the Southeast Regional championship game at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
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