DAHLONEGA, Ga. - The Armstrong State University softball team is headed to the NCAA Division II National Championships for the fourth time in the last five seasons after capturing the 2017 Southeast Super Regional with a 5-2 win over No. 3 North Georgia on Friday afternoon at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium in Dahlonega.
The Pirates (36-12) swept both games of the Super Regional from the Nighthawks (48-13) to keep the season - and the athletic department - competing this Spring. Armstrong State softball will now advance to the DII Championships in Salem, Va., on May 25-29 against an opponent to be determined.
Armstrong State got a three-run home run from sophomore Logan Harrell in the bottom of the first inning to get things started. After North Georgia's Kaylyn Anthony drove in a run with an RBI single in the fourth inning to make the score 3-1, the Pirates plated two runs in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI infield single by Autumn Parrish and an error that made the score 5-1.
The Nighthawks did not go away, plating a run in the sixth on Kaylyn Anthony's RBI single, then putting runners on second and third with one out in the top of the seventh. Jane Trzaska relieved Tori Bates and got a lineout to short, then after a walk loaded the bases, Trzaska threw out Alishia Frierson at first for the final out to send the Pirates to Salem.
Senior Tori Bates (6-1) picked up the win with 6 1/3 innings of seven-hit ball, giving up two runs - one earned - whiel striking out two. Trzaska hurled 2/3rds of an inning to notch her first save of the season. Amber Johns (8-3) took the loss for the Nighthawks, giving up seven hits and five runs - four earned - in 3 1/3 innings of work, walking four while striking out two.
Harrell had two hits and three RBI for the Pirates, and her home run in the first inning was the 80th of the season for the Pirates, just one shy of the school record of 81 set in 2014. Anthony's two hits led the Nighthawks on the day.
Armstrong State will be heading to Salem for the third time in school history. The Pirates advanced in 2013 and 2014, finishing as national semifinalists in 2013.