Burns’ Blast Keys Saints Rally in PBC Tournament
COLUMBUS, GA – Trailing 6-3 to the seventh-seeded Georgia College Bobcats, North Georgia’s Tiffanie Burns launched a three-run home run to tie the game and key the Saint’s 7-6 comeback win in the first game of the PBC Tournament in Columbus. North Georgia (44-7) won the game in the bottom of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Katherine Martin to advance to the semifinal round on Saturday.
Georgia College (25-24) started the game off strong, getting a three-run home run from Haley Burnett, the first of her two homers on the day, in the top of the first to open up a 3-0 lead. North Georgia responded with two in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Hilary Cox and an RBI groundout from Karlie Gillam.
The Saints tied things at three apiece in the bottom of the second as Burns doubled with one out and then scored one batter later as Callie Fernandez singled.
Georgia College came back with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. In the fourth, Mikayla Sparks bunted home Natalie Lampert while in the fifth Burnett sent her second homer over the center field fence.
In the sixth the Bobcats led off with a Shahlisa Shirley single, which was enough to chase NGCSU starter Jessica Coan, who was hit with all six earned runs in the game. The Saints brought in Melissa Dickie who got two outs while runners moved to second and third. Whitney Okvist brought home the run with a high chopper just in front of home plate.
North Georgia started the sixth with a walk and got another baserunner thanks to one of GC’s three errors, setting up Burns’ heroics.
In the seventh, the Saints led off with a single from Rochelle Shuman, who then moved to second on an error. Georgia College then chose to intentionally load the bases with no outs, bringing Martin to the plate. GC reliever Erica Bell (L, 8-4) got Martin to a 3-2 count but missed with the next pitch on the inside to bring in the winning run.
Dickie (W, 18-0) picked up the win with two innings of relief work, allowing two hits and a walk.
Burns was the only Saint to collect two hits in the game, going 2-for-3 with with two runs scored and three RBIs. Cox, Gillam, Martin and Fernandez had the other RBIs for the Saints.
Burnett drove in four runs all told for Georgia College, going 2-for-4. Okvist was 2-for-3 with an RBI and stole her 52nd base of the season, the third-highest single-season total in PBC history.
North Georgia continues their quest to win their fourth-straight PBC Tournament by advancing to the semifinals on Sunday at 11:00 am. The Saints will face the winner of the Augusta State/USC Aiken contest.