Big fifth puts North Georgia in Salem
Saints break school record for wins in a season with 52nd
DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Second-ranked and top-seeded North Georgia used a huge six-run fifth inning to take down Lenoir-Rhyne 10-2 and capture the 2011 Southeast Super Regional championship.
The Saints (52-10) advance to the NCAA Division II Championship for the third consecutive season and, in the process, took down Lenoir-Rhyne for the second year in a row. North Georgia's 52 wins is the most in school history, surpassing last year's 51-win season.
The Bears (45-10) end their season one game shy of the National Championships as a team from the Peach Belt Conference has now advanced to the Finals in each of the last 13 years.
North Georgia will now turn its attention to the World Series in Salem, Va., and its opening round matchup against Indiana (Pa.) at the Moyer Sports Complex. Indiana (Pa.) advances to the National Championships after sweeping Bloomsburg in the Atlantic Super Regional.
In a contrast from the first two games of the series, pitchers dominated the opening innings, tossing up zeros on both sides until the fourth frame when North Georgia came alive at the plate and struck for a pair of runs. Victoria St. Clair scored the first run of the contest on a wild pitch, and Kayla Martin trotted home on a two-out Ansley Martin single to left field to give the Saints a 2-0 advantage.
The Bears came right back in the fifth inning and cut the lead in half on one swing of the bat, courtesy of Megan Laxton's solo home run over the fence in left field to make it 2-1.
North Georgia put together another rally in the fifth inning and benefited from a pair of errors to put a six spot on the board for a commanding 8-1 lead. The first two runs of the frame were scored on fielding miscues by the Bears, but Ansley Williams left no doubt about the next four runs, belting a grand slam to straight away center field.
After L-R put a run on the board in the top of the sixth inning, the Saints slammed the door in the bottom half when Sarah Johnson and Pilar Harden belted back-to-back home runs to give the Saints a 10-2 victory in six innings and dog pile at home plate. The back-to-back home runs was the second time in as many days the duo accomplished the feat, and it gave North Georgia 12 long balls in the three-game series.
Jessica Coan (27-4) proved she deserved Region Pitcher of the Year honors, tossing all six innings and allowing just three hits and two runs, while striking out six. Lauren Harris (11-3) suffered the loss for the Bears, lasting four innings and giving up four runs on five hits.