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September 17, 2014
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Posted: Saturday, May 17th 2014 at 11:44pm

Nighthawks softball falls in Super Regional championship game

By staff reports
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DAHLONEGA - In a pair of dramatic NCAA Division II Southeast Super Regional softball games, the 19th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University Pirates came out of top of the decisive game with a thrilling 12-10 victory over the second-ranked University of North Georgia Nighthawks. UNG forced the if game with a 7-5 come-from-behind win in the first game.

In the first game, North Georgia scored three times in the top of the seventh inning to rally for 7-5 win over Armstrong to force the rubber game.

The Pirates took a 5-4 lead into the final inning after Hannah Reppert, who went 2-for-3, led off the bottom of sixth with her 12th home run to left-center field.

Meredith Heyer led off the Nighthawk rally with a walk and Taylor Merritt, who went 2-for-4, followed with a one-out soft single to center field. Kim McMillan laced a single to left field off Pirate starter Ollivia McLemore (23-6). Armstrong's Heather Ellis overran the ball on the play, allowing both Rochelle Shuman, who pinch ran for Heyer, and Merritt to score and gave the Nighthawks a 6-5 lead.

North Georgia added an insurance run as Jessica Finch had an RBI single to right field to give the Nighthawks a 7-5 lead.

Reliever Courtney Poole (23-9), who pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, retired the side to earn the win.

North Georgia took advantage of two Armstrong errors in the third to score four runs three unearned to jump out to a 4-0 lead.

Armstrong got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a UNG throwing error and then added three runs in the fifth to knot score at 4. Peyton Roth had a suicide squeeze bunt while Haley Ellis had a run-scoring single up the middle. Andrea Dalton closed out the scoring with a RBI single to left-center field.

In the second game, AASU scored eight times in the top of the sixth inning and then had to hold off a furious rally by the University of North Georgia to record a 12-10 in the rubber game.

The 19th-ranked Pirates improved to 35-13 overall and will advance to the NCAA Division II Softball National Championship in Salem, Va. The No. 2-ranked Nighthawks ended their season at 47-11. The NCAA Championship appearance is the second consecutive for the Pirates.

North Georgia, which forced the third game of the regional with a 7-5 win earlier in the game, took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single to center by Victoria Prince, who went 2-for-4.

The Pirates broke the game open in the top of the sixth as Armstrong sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight runs four of them earned as they took advantage of three UNG errors. The Pirates took the lead for good at 6-4 on a two-run double to center field by Peyton Roth, who went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, off UNG reliever Victoria Sink (24-2).

Andrea Dalton, who went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI, added a RBI single through the right side. A sacrifice fly by Hannah Reppert and a run-scoring single by Haley Ellis made the score 10-5. Heather Ellis and Kacie Patterson each drove in a run to close of the scoring for the Pirates, who collected 13 hits in the game,

The Nighthawks, who rallied in the final at-bat in the first game, tried to work some more last-inning magic. North Georgia took advantage off three Armstrong errors to score five runs only one earned -- in the seventh.

Courtney Poole, who went 3-for-4, drove in the first run on a single through the right side while Meredith Heyer, who went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, contributed a run-scoring single back up the middle to cut the lead to 12-7.Kim McMillian, who went 1-for-3 with 3 RBI, added a RBI ground out and the Nighthawks pushed across another on a Pirate throwing error. Jessica Finch, who went 3-for-5, drove in the final run for the Nighthawks on single up the middle.

North Georgia had the winning run at home plate with one out, but Armstrong starter Ollivia McLemore (24-9) got out of further trouble as she got Ansley Phillips and Meagan May to ground out to end the game and seal the team's trip to Salem.
Associated Categories: Sports News, College Sports

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