The Pirates (34-12) are now one game away from returning to the NCAA Division II Softball Championships, holding a 1-0 lead over the Saints (46-10). Game 2 is set for 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, with an if-necessary game to take place at 2:30 p.m.
Armstrong scored the first run of the contest in the second inning as Peyton Roth delivered an RBI single to put the Pirates up, 1-0. The Pirates stretched that lead to 2-0 on a solo home run by senior Andrea Dalton leading off the fourth inning.
North Georgia tied things up in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Courtney Poole and an RBI double by Tiffanie Burns.
In the top of the eighth inning, Walker delivered a one-out home run to center field to put the Pirates up 3-2. Armstrong starter Ollivia McLemore then retired the Nighthawks in order in the bottom of the eighth inning to close out the victory.
McLemore hurled eight innings of two-hit ball, giving up two unearned runs and walking three to improve to 23-5 on the season. Poole (22-9) gave up seven hits and three runs in eight innings of work, striking out six in taking the loss for the Nighthawks.
Roth and Walker each had two hits to lead the Pirates while Poole and Burns had the only hits for North Georgia.