FMU Softball drops Peach Belt opener to third-ranked UNG

FMU Softball drops Peach Belt opener to third-ranked UNG

FLORENCE, SC – The Francis Marion University softball team fell to third-ranked University of North Georgia in its first Peach Belt Conference doubleheader by scores of 7-0 and 7-2 on Saturday (March 16) afternoon.

The Patriots (16-9, 0-2) are back in action on Sunday afternoon (March 17) at 1 p.m. for a doubleheader against PBC foe Young Harris College.

FMU sophomore center fielder Taylor DeLeon reached three times over the two games, including picking up a hit in each contest. Senior infielder Angela Buccilli brought in a pair of runs, and accounted for the Patriots' lone extra-base hit of the day.

Senior first baseman Katie Collins and junior center fielder Kaylyn Anthony paced the Nighthawks (26-6, 4-0) with three hits apiece for the day. Collins also drove in five runs. Junior right-handed pitcher Kaylee Smith (15-0) earned both victories in the circle.

UNG jumped out to a quick lead in game two, scoring three in the top of the first. Francis Marion threatened in the home half, but left two runners stranded.

The Patriots took advantage of their opportunity to score in the second. With the bases loaded, Buccilli drove a double to the gap in left-center field, bringing in a pair. The potential tying run was thrown out at the plate, keeping the Nighthawks ahead 3-2.

North Georgia maintained a one-run edge until the sixth, when Collins belted a two-out three-run double as part of a four-run inning.

Francis Marion managed three base runners, with just one getting into scoring position, over the final five innings. Smith came out of North Georgia's bullpen to toss 4.2 scoreless frames to earn the win.

Freshman right-hander Janecia Hemingway (5-2) suffered the loss for FMU, allowing seven runs, three of which were earned, across 5.2 innings.

Pitching dominated at the start of game one, as neither starting pitcher allowed a base runner until the third.

North Georgia scored unearned runs in the third and fourth to go up 2-0.

Collins extended the Nighthawks' lead to four in the fifth, bringing in two with a single. UNG capped off game one's scoring with a three-run sixth.

Sophomore right-hander Katelyn Ellard (10-4) went the distance for FMU but suffered the loss, allowing seven runs, only three of which were earned. The sophomore picked up five strikeouts.

Smith started game one and earned the win for the Nighthawks, tossing 6.1 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts.


Post-game comments from FMU head coach Stacey Vallee

#3 North Georgia 7, Francis Marion 0 (Mar 16, 2019 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
North Georgia....... 001 123 0 -  7  9  0      (25-6, 3-0 PBC)
Francis Marion...... 000 000 0 -  0  1  3      (16-8, 0-1 PBC)
Pitchers: North Georgia - K. Smith; R. Patton(7) and S. Hammontre. Francis Marion -
Katelyn Ellard and Chelsea Welty.
Win-K. Smith(14-0)  Loss-Katelyn Ellard(10-4)  T-1:56  A-127
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 56 degrees, win

#3 North Georgia 7, Francis Marion 2 (Mar 16, 2019 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
North Georgia....... 300 004 0 -  7 10  0      (26-6, 4-0 PBC)
Francis Marion...... 020 000 0 -  2  5  2      (16-9, 0-2 PBC)
Pitchers: North Georgia - A. Crawford; K. Smith(2); L. Chambers(7) and S. Hammontre.
Francis Marion - Janecia Hemingway; Katelyn Ellard(6) and Chelsea Welty.
Win-K. Smith(15-0)  Loss-Janecia Hemingway(5-2)  T-2:17  A-0
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 59 degrees, wind