Patriots drop pair to #3 Nighthawks

Patriots drop pair to #3 Nighthawks

FLORENCE, SC – Third-ranked University of North Georgia used a pair of four-run outburst to sweep a Peach Belt Conference softball doubleheader from Francis Marion University on Sunday afternoon (March 19).  The Nighthawks won the opener 8-5 in nine innings and the second contest 7-4.

Francis Marion (22-10, 4-4) will return to action on Monday hosting Young Harris College for a Peach Belt twinbill on First Responders' Day at the Griffin Athletic Complex.  First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

In Sunday's opener, FMU was two outs away from a one-run victory when North Georgia second baseman Jordan Deep hit a solo homer over the left field fence to knot the score at 4-4.  The Nighthawks scored four times in the top of the ninth to take an 8-4 advantage.  In the bottom half of the frame, the Patriots plated one run on an RBI ground out by senior left fielder Briana Barzola, and had the potential tying run in the on-deck circle when the third out was made.

Francis Marion freshman right-hander Sydney Holland (10-7) was charged with the loss as she surrendered all eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits with three strikeouts.  Young Harris freshman righty Kylee Smith (16-3) earned the win as she allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits, while fanning six.

The Patriots took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a solo homer by freshman right fielder Rayni Newman – her fourth long ball of the year.  North Georgia scored three times in the top of the third, including a two-run single by designated player Alishia Frierson.

FMU retook the lead with a three-run fifth inning.  The lead was trimmed to 3-2 when a two-out infield pop-up behind the pitching circle was not caught.  Sophomore catcher Chelsea Welty then put the Patriots ahead 4-3 with a two-homer to left – also her fourth home run of the season.

That set the stage for Deep's seventh-inning heroics.

In the second contest, Francis Marion rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth frame.  Barzola slapped an RBI-single to shallow left and senior second baseman Taylor Brunson followed with a two-run single to left center fielder.

The deadlock was short-lived as the Nighthawks (27-7, 7-2) scored three times in their next at bat to assume a 6-3 advantage.  Both teams scored six single runs in the seventh, and Francis Marion brought the potential tying run to plate before Smith induced a ground out to end the game and record her second pitching win of the day.

FMU freshman righty Cristi Pressley (4-2), the second of three FMU hurlers in game two, was tagged with the loss.  Two of the four runs she allowed were unearned.

FMU senior center fielder Mikala Barnhart was 2-for-3 in game two with a pair of runs scored.  The top three batters in the Patriot line-up, Barzola, Brunson, and Welty, each had one hit in both ends of the twinbill.

Deep also homered in the second game for North Georgia, and finished the day with four hits.


#3 North Georgia 8, Francis Marion Univ. 5 (Mar 19, 2017 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
U. of North Georgia. 003 000 104  -  8 10  2      (26-7, 6-2 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ. 010 030 001  -  5  5  2      (22-9, 4-3 PBC)
Pitchers: U. of North Georgia - Kylee Smith and . Francis Marion Univ. - Sydney Holland and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Kylee Smith (15-3)  Loss-Sydney Holland (10-7)  T-2:27  A-77
HR UNG - Jordan Deep (4).
HR FMU_SB - Chelsea Welty (4); Rayni Newman (4).
Weather: Mostly Sunny,53,Winds N @ 21


#3 U. of North Georgia 7, Francis Marion Univ. 4 (Mar 19, 2017 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
U. of North Georgia. 001 023 1 -  7 10  3      (27-7, 7-2 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ. 000 030 1 -  4  5  4      (22-10, 4-4 PBC)
Pitchers: U. of North Georgia - Amber Johns; Kylee Smith(5) and . Francis Marion Univ. -
Samantha Wroblewski; Cristi Pressley(5); Sydney Holland(6) and .
Win-Kylee Smith(16-3)  Loss-Cristi Pressley(4-2)  T-2:17  A-0
HR UNG - Jordan Deep (5).
Weather: Mostly Sunny,60,Winds NNW @ 13