Pitchers' duel in two-game split
MLB Hall of Famer Phil Niekro throws out first pitch
DAHLONEGA, Ga. - Sophomore right-hander Megan Barnwell spun a three-hit shutout for Armstrong Atlantic as the No. 22-ranked Pirates blanked No. 3-ranked North Georgia, 3-0, in the first game of a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon in Dahlonega. The Lady Saints came back to earn the split, winning 5-1 in game two.
The split ensures that the Pirates (27-9, 12-6 PBC) will finish in the top half of the league standings, while North Georgia (39-9, 15-3 PBC) will have to wait until tomorrow's doubleheader to have a chance to clinch the regular season league title.
Barnwell outdueled North Georgia's Jessica Coan in the game-one win. Barnwell gave up just three hits - all singles - in seven innings of work, walking one and striking out three to improve to 19-5 on the season.
The Pirates pushed across single runs in the third and the seventh innings - both unearned against Coan. In the third, Erin Billinsgley hit a two-out double and Shelby Duff walked, putting two on. A passed ball then scored Billinsgley from second base for the first run of the game.
In the seventh inning, Meagan Qualls led off the inning with a double, then Whitney Galloway reached on a bunt single, moving Qualls to third. An error by North Georgia third baseman Ansley Williams then allowed Qualls to score to make the score 2-0.
Coan (20-4) gave up just four hits in seven innings and the two unearned runs, walking four and striking out 10 to take the loss for the Saints in game one.
In game two, North Georgia scored twice in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead on an RBI groundout and an RBI single by Pilar Harden. Armstrong answered in the second inning with a single run as Keela Scott singled with one out and scored on a succession of errors by the pitcher and the left fielder.
The Saints put the game out of reach in the third inning with three runs - highlighted by a Kayla Martin two-RBI single - to earn the 5-1 win.
Sarah Phillips (15-4) took the game two win for the Saints, giving up six hits and one unearned run in seven innings of work, walking one and striking out three.
Shelby Duff (4-4) took the loss for the Pirates in game two, giving up 10 hits and five runs in six innings, walking two and striking out two.