Courtesy of ArmstrongPirates.com
DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The No. 16-ranked and second-seeded Armstrong State University softball squad defeated No. 4-ranked, top-seeded and defending NCAA Division II national champion University of North Georgia twice on Thursday, 4-2 and 5-3 in 8 innings, to advance out of the NCAA Southeast Super Regional and advance to the NCAA DII Softball Championships for the third time in the last four seasons.
The Pirates (40-13) went into Thursday needing to win twice after the Nighthawks (54-8) took game one of the Super Regional, 4-0, on Wednesday.
Armstrong State needed just one out in the seventh inning of the deciding third game to earn the trip to the DII Championships, but with a 3-1 lead and two out, North Georgia’s Meagan May launched her first career home run to tie the game at 3-3 and send it to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, sophomore Autumn Parrish launched a two-run home run to give the Pirates the lead again. Junior Jane Trzaska (17-4) set down the Nighthawks in the bottom of the eighth, giving up just a two-out walk to earn the win – her second win of the day – and send the Pirates heading to Denver.
Trzaska hurled eight innings, giving up seven hits and three runs – two earned – while walking two and striking out one in the win. Courtney Poole (53-5) took the loss, giving up five hits and five runs in eight innings, walking five and striking out five.
Game one began with a scoreless top of the first inning for North Georgia. Armstrong State seniorPeyton Roth led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, then lightning halted play for more than two hours. When play resumed at 7:30 p.m., Reppert launched a two-run home run to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead, and freshman Macy Coleman followed two batters later with a solo shot for a 3-0 advantage.
North Georgia pushed across a run in the top of the third with an RBI groundout by Jessica Finch, but freshman Logan Harrell answered in the bottom of the third with a solo home run for a 4-1 lead.
The Nighthawks loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the fifth, but Trzaska escaped the jam with just one run scoring on a fielder’s choice. She allowed just one hit the rest of the way to close out the 4-2 win and set up the winner-take-all third game.
Trzaska limited the Nighthawks to four hits and two runs in seven innings in the game-one win, walking four while striking out three. Poole took the loss, giving up six hits and four runs in six innings of work, striking out five.
Armstrong State advanced to the 2013 and 2014 NCAA DII Softball Championships in Salem, Va., finishing tied for third and tied for fifth in its previous two trips. The Pirates will open play on Tuesday, May 17th, facing Humboldt State at 4:30 p.m. at the Regency Athletic Complex Softball Field on the campus of Metro State University.