DAHLONEGA, Ga. -- In the Peach Belt Conference championship game, the Georgia Southwestern softball team went up in the top of the fourth with a RBI single by Chloe Zoeller; but the University of North Georgia refused to give up. UNG ended GSW hopes of winning their first PBC Tournament in program history with a 3-1 championship win Saturday evening inside Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.
GSW defeated Young Harris 2-0 in the semifinals Saturday afternoon, going 2-1 in the PBC Tournament. Shannon Gibson, Kayla Kerr and Sarah Beth King were all named to the 2019 PBC Softball All-Tournament Team.
Semifinals: GSW 2, Young Harris 0
It was a pitchers' duel through the first four innings, as Hayley Tierce picked up the first hit of the game in the top of the fourth when she singled to second base. King and Aimee Oglesby were walked to make bases loaded with two outs as Briana Bryson came up to bat. 12 pitches later, Bryson struck out, leaving three Lady Canes stranded. In the bottom fourth, the Mountain Lions picked up two hits of their own to get runners in scoring position but they failed to score also.
Due to lightening in the area and an incoming storm, the game was put on hold in the top of the fifth inning for three hours while the storm passed over Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.
In the top of the sixth, Lauren Kuerzi singled up the middle to reach base as Haley Griffin came in to pinch run for Kuerzi. With King at bat, she pushed a two-run bomb over the left field wall for the only scores of the evening as GSW won 2-0.
Gibson led from inside the circle as she only gave up three hits while walking three Mountain Lions and striking out three. YHC pitchers combined for a total of nine strikeouts while only giving up five hits.
PBC Championship: GSW 1, UNG 3
Kuerzi singled into the left field to start the top of the fourth inning for GSW as Griffin was sent in to pinch run for Kuerzi. King and Oglesby were walked as that loaded the bases for GSW. With two outs, Zoeller singled right to the pitcher and advanced all runners as Griffin crossed the plate, giving the Lady Canes a 1-0 lead.
The Nighthawks returned the favor in the bottom of fifth inning, as Katie Collins started the inning with a home run out into the right field to tie the game at 1. UNG's Shelby Hammontree's RBI single up the middle gave the Nighthawks a 2-1 lead. They added insurance in the bottom of the sixth inning to win their sixth consecutive PBC Championship by score of 3-1.
Leadoff hitter Zoeller led the Lady Canes, going 3-of-4 with the sole RBI. Gibson took her ninth loss of the season, pitching 4.1 innings and giving up two runs off three hits as GSW struck out five Nighthawks. UNG's Kylee Smith struck out 12 Lady Canes while picking up her 27th win.
GSW ends their historic season 29-26, tying for most wins in the NCAA Division II era. The Lady Canes also advanced to semifinals and played in the PBC Championship game for the first time in the NCAA Division II era.