North Georgia

SALEM, Va. – North Georgia’s Pilar Harden knocked in five runs to help carry the Lady Saints to a 9-4 victory versus Indiana (Pa.) in the NCAA Division II Championship. 

North Georgia now stands at 53-10 on the season while IUP is 38-7.

The Crimson Hawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks in part to a two-run first frame. Dee Eppinger got things started with an infield single. After moving around to third, she and Marisa Leslie came home on Kristen Tunno’s two-RBI single to right for the 2-0 advantage.

Indiana (Pa.) added to its margin in the second when Taylor Rozantz scored as Eppinger reached on an error.

The Lady Saints evened things in the third. Natasha Willemse led things off with a walk. She promptly moved to third when Ansley Williams drilled a pitch to the gap in right center. With two on, Kasey Knight’s groundout allowed one run to come home. After an out, Harden blasted a two-run homer over the center field fence, knotting the game at three.

North Georgia took the lead in the fifth. Willemse again led things off, this time reaching first via a bunt. She moved to third on Williams’ double. With two on and one away, Harden singled home two for a 5-3 lead the team would not relinquish.

The Lady Saints added to the margin in the sixth when Hilary Cox launched a solo homer 260 feet over the left field wall, pushing the advantage to 6-3. Williemse walked, moved to second on Williams’ single and came home on Knight’s single.

Sarah Johnson’s single through the left side gave the Lady Saints an 8-3 lead and Harden ended up with her fifth RBI of the game on a single, making the score 9-3.

The Crimson Hawks pushed across a run in the seventh but did not make any threat of a comeback.

Sarah Phillips came in for Jessica Coan to pick up the win for North Georgia. Coan ended up with six strikeouts while Phillips had three. Erin Holloway went the distance for the Crimson Hawks, taking the loss. She gave up nine runs on 10 hits while striking out eight.

The Lady Saints will take on the winner of the Alabama-Huntsville/Midwestern State game, and Indiana (Pa.) will face the loser of that game in an elimination game.