MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College softball squad (10-10, 2-0 PBC) started the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) season in the best possible way, sweeping Francis Marion University (11-7, 2-2 PBC) 7-6 and 3-2 Sunday at the Peeler Complex.
The Bobcats jumped out to a 7-0 lead after the first three innings in game one, thanks to a six-run third inning. Haley Burnett (Columbus, Ga.) had a two-run single and Lindsey Conway (Madison, Ga.) a two-run double in the breakthrough inning.
FMU charged back, scoring three each in the fourth and fifth innings, but could not get the equalizer. With the tying run on second in the fifth, freshman pitcher Erica Bell (Fayetteville, Ga.) induced a grounder for the final out of the inning. The Patriots managed just one more baserunner off Bell in the final two frames.
Burnett finished 2-for-3 with three RBI, the lone multi-hit performer in the contest. The win went to Bobcat starter Sabrina Chandler (Covington, Ga.) improving to 4-2 with four innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits. Bell allowed one earned run over three innings for her first career save.
Patriot starter Kayla Ellingsen (5-3) took the loss in 2 1/3 innings. Catcher Olivia Ferguson was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI.
In game two, it was the Patriots with the early lead, 2-0 after three innings. The Bobcats were blanked until the bottom of the seventh and final inning.
A Patriot error got things started, followed by a walk. Next, shortstop Natalie Bellantoni (Oviedo, Fla.) singled to right to load them up. Third baseman Michl'le Hull (Stone Mountain, Ga.) followed with her own single to right, plating a pair of runs for the 2-2 tie. Hull and Bellantoni both advanced to scoring position on the throw to the plate that missed the tying run.
After an out, first baseman Shahlisa Shirley (Winter Garden, Fla.) hit a grounder to the second baseman, who tried to cut down Bellantoni at the plate unsuccessfully, completing the three-run rally. Bellantoni finished 2-for-4 with a run.
Burnett (4-4) picked up the win, scattering three hits and two runs over all seven frames while fanning seven. Katie Carnes (3-2) took the loss in 6 1/3 innings.
After waiting until the final PBC doubleheader of the 2011 season to get a sweep last year, the Bobcats pick up a sweep in their first PBC action and now share the top of the conference standings with Armstrong.
The Bobcats are back in action Friday, March 2 at 4 p.m., hosting Brevard College.
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