DAHLONEGA — The third-ranked University of North Georgia softball team fought off elimination twice on the second day of the 2017 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional 1 at UNG's Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium downing fifth-seeded and No. 13 Lenoir-Rhyne, 8-3, before blanking eighth-seeded North Greenville, 2-0.
The Nighthawks (46-11) advance to face fourth-seeded Limestone tomorrow (May 13) at 12:00. North Georgia needs to win twice against the undefeated Saints.
Game No. 1: North Georgia 8, Lenoir-Rhyne 3
A RBI-ground out by Jessica Finch and a RBI-single by Kaylyn Anthony plated two runs in the first frame, but L-R would cut the lead in half with a RBI-single in the bottom half of the inning.
An inning later, Hannah McSwain hit a two-run home run, her third of the season, to open the game up while Kylee Smith would go on to earn the win in the circle allowing just one earned run as the host Nighthawks staved off elimination in the second game of the day.
Single runs in the third and fourth innings and two more in the sixth rounded out the Nighthawks' scoring.
Stephanie Hartness added three hits including a run-scoring triple for North Georgia.
Game No. 2: North Georgia 2, North Greenville 0
In the second elimination game of the day, Sydney Sprague would provide all the game's offense with a two-run homerun in the third inning. The junior's long ball was her 12th of the season and plated McSwain who singled in the previous at-bat.
Smith tossed another gem in the circle for UNG striking out 10 Crusaders while allowing just three base runners on a pair of singles and one walk.
- Hartness finished 5-for-6 on the day, reaching base in her first five at-bats of the day up her multiple-hit game total to 24 and extend her hitting streak to 14 games.
- Smith earned both pitching victories to up her record to 29-4 on the season. Her 10 strikeouts against North Greenville marked the fifth time this season that the freshman has set down double figure batters in a game.