by Mark Jagord, sports information assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College softball team (31-11, 10-6 PBC) joined No. 12 University of North Georgia as the only two Peach Belt Conference (PBC) teams to top the 30-win mark this season. The Bobcats swept Georgia Southwestern State University (23-21, 7-9 PBC) 3-2 and 4-0 Saturday afternoon, as senior Whitney Okvist (Kennesaw, Ga.) gained sole possession of the No. 5 spot on the NCAA Division II all-time stolen bases list.
The Bobcats continued to show their dominance at the Peeler Complex by winning 18 of the last 19 homestands. Today, Georgia College extended its current win-streak to five and never trailed in either game.
In the first game, Georgia College scored a pair of runs in its first at-bat and added an insurance run in the fifth as freshman Carly Lewis (Seymour, Tenn.)(14-7) went the distance from the mound, while sophomore Marisa Boyette (Marietta, Ga.) (11-4) threw a shutout in the second game.
Okvist swiped a pair of bags in the first game and added another in the matinee to up her career total to 160, breaking a fifth-place tie entering the game with Beth Hein on the all-time Division II list. Molloy College's Hein stole her first base back in 1994 and like four of the top-five all-time base stealers entering this season, dominated during the 90s. Not counting post-season play, Okvist needs to average four stolen bases during the last six regular-season contests to move to No. 4 all-time.
First inning stolen bases in the first game may have been the difference as the Bobcats were out-hit 7-5 in the opening contest. As so many games have started for Georgia College this season, this one was no different as Okvist led-off with a single and promptly stole second. Sophomore Abi LeRoy's (Dublin, Ga.) single later that inning would score Okvist, but a double steal by junior Kristen Humphries (Columbus, Ga.) and freshman Danielle Bernstein (Cumming, Ga.) would give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead, with the latter stealing home plate.
After the Hurricanes would cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third, the Bobcats iced the game in the fifth. After Bernstein singled and stole another bag, she advanced on a fielder's choice before Humphries' sacrifice-bunt scored Bernstein on a squeeze play for a 3-1 lead.
Lewis would do the rest by allowing only one earned run off seven hits while striking out seven. The Bobcats stranded runners in every inning for a total of eight in the first game.
In the second game, Georgia College again put the game away in the fifth. This time the Bobcats scored a pair to increase their lead to 3-0 before adding an insurance run in their last at-bat with a solo home run by Humphries.
The Bobcats got on the board in the second inning when sophomore Lacey Najafi's (Suwanee, Ga.) single scored Humphries for a 1-0 lead. Then in the fifth, Okvist would figure in both of the clinching runs. She singled to score sophomore Kristen Brooks (Brunswick, Ga.) and then scored off a throwing-error to give Georgia College a 3-0 lead.
Humphries ended the second game 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and homer, while getting one RBI and scoring twice. Boyette allowed only four hits while turning aside seven Hurricane batters. Three of the seven Bobcat hits were doubles from Humphries, Brooks and Lewis.
Georgia College will resume PBC play with a doubleheader Wednesday, April 9 against Columbus State University starting at 5 p.m. at the Peeler Complex. The Bobcats need just one more win to become the first PBC team to win 20 at home this season.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.