NCAA Softball: Top-Seeded Nighthawks Fall To North Greenville In Regional Opener, 2-1

University of North Georgia senior Stephanie Hartness
University of North Georgia senior Stephanie Hartness

DAHLONEGA - The No. 3 University of North Georgia softball team had its nine-game winning streak snapped with a 2-1 upset loss to eighth-seeded North Greenville in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional 1 on Thursday at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.

The top-seeded Nighthawks (44-11) will now have to play their way through the losers' bracket beginning tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. against fifth-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne, who fell 5-3 to Limestone in Game #2. 

North Greenville (36-17) advances to tomorrow's 10:30 a.m. winners' bracket game against fourth-seeded and Conference Carolinas foe Limestone. The meeting will be the fourth of the season between the two teams.

UNG's Kylee Smith allowed just four hits on the day in the circle for North Georgia while striking out nine. Counterpart Amanda Coffrin held the Nighthawk offense to just six hits while fanning three.

Half of North Georgia's hits came off the bat of senior Stephanie Hartness as she was 3-for-3 with a double and a triple.

The Nighthawks' best scoring chance game in the bottom of the fourth, with runners on second and third with just one out, but Coffrin registered a strikeout and a pop out to end the inning.

The game's pivotal hit came in the fifth inning when North Greenville's Celsea Rivers connected for a two-run blast over the left field wall. The homerun was just Rivers' second of the season.

UNG was able to threaten again in the sixth when Hartness led off with a triple and later scored on a single by Kaylyn Anthony's single.

The loss marks the first time that UNG has dropped a Regional game at home, snapping a 21-game winning streak.

Friday's games were moved up two hours from the originally published time in advance of tomorrow's projected weather.