PBC Softball: Saints rally past Bobcats to advance to the semifinals

PBC Softball: Saints rally past Bobcats to advance to the semifinals

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – No. 4 seed Flagler College took advantage of a couple of miscues by No. 5 Georgia College along with a gritty performance in the circle by Kyra Gipson to advance with a 7-2 victory in the final quarterfinal of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Friday night at the Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.

Flagler improved to 31-22 and will take on the host school, No. 5 (NFCA Division II Top 25) University of North Georgia, on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the second semifinal. Georgia College's season comes to an end with a 34-18 record.

Tonight's game was delayed due to lightning delays in the earlier games. The original start time for the fourth quarterfinal game was 6:30 p.m. First pitch was at 10 p.m.

Both teams scored two runs apiece in the first inning.

Flagler's Genevieve Mangini led off the third inning with a double to left field, which chased Bobcat starter Rebecca Lawrence (8-8). Rachel Wolverton replaced Lawrence and she allowed Mangini to steal third and then walked the next batter Tatum Morgan. Wolverton struck out the next batter, but with runners on the corners, Morgan was able to steal second. Natalie Murphy followed with a squeeze bunt that plated Mangini, but the throw to first was too high and that allowed Morgan to score and give the Saints a 4-2 lead.

That would be enough for Gipson (19-10) who kept Georgia College hitless in the last 3 2/3 innings. She allowed two runs on four hits with five walks and five strikeouts. Gipson broke the school record tonight for most innings pitched in a season with 204. Tonight was her 23rd complete game of the season, which adds to her own school record.

Insurance came in the sixth with three more runs by Flagler. Three consecutive walks chased Wolverton and Kayla Price was called on to quell the uprising. She got NaJah Gerrald to hit a ground ball back to the circle and Price was able to get the force out at the plate. But back-to-back RBI singles by Mangini and Morgan put the game away.    

Mangini went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and one run batted in. Morgan had the two-run single in the sixth and also scored twice. Morgan Murphy hit a two-run single in the first inning.

Lawrence allowed three runs on two hits in two-plus innings for the Bobcats. She walked three and fanned two. Wolverton did not allow a hit in three-plus innings, but allowed three earned runs. She walked six batters and struck out five.

Lindsey Puckett collected two singles and drove in a run. Sarah Couch led off the game with a triple and scored. She also collected three walks.