Softball drops two heartbreakers to No. 13 Saints

GREENWOOD – Hayley Leissner, Lander's lone senior on the softball team, suffered a heartbreaking Senior Day on the mound Sunday afternoon when she was within one out of giving the Bearcats a season-ending victory over No. 13 North Georgia at Doug Spears Field.

With two outs and a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning, the Saints tied the Bearcats on Pilar Harden's RBI double, then earned the Peach Belt Conference sweep when Katherine Martin drove in pinch runner Taylor Merritt in the eighth for the 2-1 victory.

North Georgia won the first game, 3-1, and improves to 41-7 overall and 15-3 in the PBC. Lander ends the season at 26-26, 4-16.

Lander Hall of Fame coach Doug Spears, who came out of a seven-year retirement to coach the team this season on an interim basis, finishes his 25-year coaching career with 829 victories.

Lander took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning when Casey Corbitt's RBI double plated Sarah Fuller.

North Georgia's Jessica Coan (22-6) was awarded the complete-game win after striking out nine and allowing one earned run on three hits in eight innings.

Lander's Leissner (13-14), who ends her decorated career as Lander's all-time strikeout leader, suffered the loss, striking out five, walking one and allowing two earned runs on seven hits in eight innings.

For North Georgia, Harden batted 2-for-3 and Hilary Cox 2-for-4.

In the first game, North Georgia took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Karlie Gillam's two-run homer over the centerfield fence.

The Bearcats cut the margin to 2-1 in the sixth on Arielle Buchholz's RBI single that plated Jaime Presnell.

The Saints stretched their lead to 3-1 in the seventh on Tiffanie Burns' RBI single to right field that scored Sarah Johnson.

Melissa Dickie (16-0) earned the complete game win after striking out two, walking two and allowing one run (none earned) on six hits in seven innings.

Lander's M.K. Pegram (5-4) took the loss after striking out two, walking one and allowing two earned runs on one hit in two innings pitched.

For Lander, Brittany Sheriff batted 2-for-4.