DAHLONEGA, GA – Shannon Gibson pitched a three-hit shutout and Sara Beth King hit a two-run home run as seventh-seeded Georgia Southwestern defeated third-seeded Young Harris 2-0 in the PBC softball tournament semifinal on Saturday. With the win, the Hurricanes (29-25) advance to the championship game for the first time in school history. Young Harris (37-17) will await Monday's announcement of the NCAA Tournament field, where they are expected to be an at-large selection.
Gibson (W, 12-8) continued her domination of the Mountain Lions. After tossing a one-hit shutout against YHC in the regular season, she did not allow a base hit until the fourth inning. In that inning, she allowed two of the three YHC hits, but got back-to-back ground outs to end the threat. Gibson finished the game with three walks and three strikeouts, finishing with 94 pitches thrown. She also had six fielding assists from the circle.
Gibson was matched by YHC starter Nikkie Kovalsky through five innings. Kovalsky (L, 23-10) struck out seven and walked only two and did not allow a base hit until the fourth.
With one out in the top of the fifth, the game was halted as a storm moved through the Dahlonega area, resulting in a 3-hour delay.
GSW struck in the sixth once play resumed. Lauren Kuerzi reached base with a one-out single, setting the table for King. The junior catcher took the 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence, her second two-run home run in as many games at the PBC Tournament and her ninth of the season.
King had the only extra base hit of the game and finished 1-for-2 with the two RBIs. Gibson, Kuerzi, Hayley Tierce and Briana Bryson had the other hits for the Hurricanes.
Jill Torres led Young Harris with a 2-for-3 day. Grace Botti had the other hit for the Mountain Lions.
Georgia Southwestern will face the winner of the North Georgia/Flagler semifinal in the championship game on Saturday evening.