DAHLONEGA, Ga. -- The Georgia Southwestern State University softball season came to a close with an 8-0 five inning loss to top-ranked North Georgia in the Peach Belt Conference Quarterfinals Friday at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.
Senior Mikela Barlow reached base in all three of her plate appearances, drawing two walks and ripping a triple off the top of the wall in her final collegiate at-bat to lead the Lady Canes.
GSW closed out the 2018 season with a mark of 18-34, but qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2013 in the first season under Head Coach Nicki Levering. North Georgia improved to 54-2 on the season and has more wins than any NCAA softball team at any level this spring.
How It Happened: The Nighthawks jumped on the Lady Canes early by scoring six runs in the bottom of the first as Marley Stowers hit an inside-the-park home run to open the scoring. After getting a lineout for the second out of the inning, a single, walk and 2-run double forced Ansley Dean to replace starter Madason Messer in the circle.
Lexi Duncan followed with a bloop to shallow center that was just out of the reach of a diving Chloe Zoeller to keep the inning going. Duncan stole third and scored on a throwing error before two straight walks and a Sydney Sprague RBI double made it 6-0 as GSW gunned down Hobby Gregory at the plate to end the frame.
The Lady Canes struggled to get anything going offensively off starter Amber Johns who allowed just two hits in five innings to pick up her 18th win of the season. Lauren Kuerzi picked up the only other hit of the day for GSW, leading off the second with a double off the wall in left center.
Shannon Gibson relieved Dean to start the bottom of the second and threw three straight scoreless innings against the powerful Nighthawks lineup. She allowed just two unearned runs on four hits as UNG plated two on a throwing error in the fifth to secure the run-rule win.