NCAA Tournament: Jags Punch Out Cougars, 5-1
DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Augusta State advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Southeast Dahlonega Regional Saturday evening with a 5-1 victory over Columbus State at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.
With the victory, the fourth-seeded Jaguars (33-17) earned the right to face tournament host and No. 1 seed North Georgia (46-8) on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. A victory by ASU would set up a rematch with the Saints at 3:30 p.m.
Jaguar senior third baseman Jessica Thornton paced the squad with a 2-for-3 effort with an RBI and a run scored. ASU combined for seven hits as a team vs. the Cougars after racking up 10 hits in the first game of the day vs. King College.
Senior righthander Emily Headrick (18-6) went the distance, yielding just four hits and an unearned run. She struck out one and pitched around five walks.
“I couldn’t be more excited for the ladies,” said ASU head coach Melissa Mullins. “We talked yesterday about the adjustments we had to make and we fought hard today and did all the little things.”
Columbus got on the board first in the bottom of the first before the Jags came back with a pair of runs in the second and added two more in the third. Thornton reached on a leadoff single in the second, moved to second on a sacrifice and took third on a throwing error on Lauren Yeargan’s grounder. After Hannah Vaughn struck out, the pitch got away from catcher Casey Googe and then her throwing error allowed both Thornton and Yeargan to race home.
Freshman centerfielder Molly Walton started out a two-out rally in the third with a single to left. Senior rightfielder Kristen Jones roped a triple to right-center to score Walton and Thornton followed with an RBI-single to center.
The Jags added an insurance run with two outs in the sixth on a Renae Kimbell single, a passed ball and a Laura Brown RBI-double to left.
ASU chased Columbus State starter Mollie Russell (21-12) after 4.0 innings and Taylor Turner worked the last three frames for the Cougars.