FLORENCE, S.C. — The third-ranked University of North Georgia softball team overcame adversity several times in Tuesday's doubleheader at Francis Marion, coming from behind twice to win in extra innings, 8-5, in the first game of the day before using some late inning dramatics to take game two, 7-4. The Nighthawks improve to 27-7 on the year with the sweep and are now 7-2 in the Peach Belt Conference.
The Patriots got on the board first in the first game of the day with a solo homer to left by Rayni Newton in the bottom of the second. UNG answered in the next frame with an infield RBI single by Stephanie Hartness and a two-run single up the middle by Alishia Frierson to go up 3-1.
A North Georgia fielding error proved costly in the fifth as Francis Marion scored three more runs, including a two-run homerun by Chelsea Welty, to go back ahead, 4-3.
Heading into the top of the seventh down a run, Jordan Deep kept the Nighthawks alive with her solo blast over the left field fence to tie the game at 4-4 and the score would remain there until the top of the ninth.
Lexi Duncan sparked a big North Georgia rally in the top of the ninth with a leadoff single through the left side. Jessica Finch drove her in just two pitches later with a double into the left center gap that allowed Duncan to score all the way from first. After Deep drew a walk, Sydney Sprague plated two runs with a single to right and advanced to third on a throwing error. Hartness brought Sprague home with a sacrifice fly to center to put UNG ahead, 8-4.
Kylee Smith went all nine innings in the circle for the Nighthawks allowing just two earned runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
Deep went deep again to get UNG on the board first in the top of the third in game two. North Georgia added to the lead in the following inning taking advantage of an FMU error to go up 3-0. Francis Marion answered the call in the bottom of the fourth though scratching across three runs to tie the game.
The Nighthawks did not flinch though as Deep came through once again with an RBI single down the left field line in the top of the sixth to put UNG back in front. North Georgia went on to add two more runs in the sixth and the two teams traded runs in the seventh to give the game its final score, 7-4.
Smith (16-3) earned the win in relief allowing one run on four hits with a walk and a strikeout in the final 2.2 innings.
North Georgia will travel to Milledgeville on Friday, March 24 to take on Georgia College in a battle of two of the top four teams in the PBC standings. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.