Nichols lifts North Carolina

sports@macon.comJuly 26, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- With the help of two inside-the-park home runs from Sapphire Nichols, North Carolina picked up an important 8-4 victory over Georgia on Friday at the Little League Softball Southeastern Regional tournament.

The win evens North Carolina’s pool play record at 1-1, while Georgia fell to 1-1 to set up two very important games in Pool A on Saturday. North Carolina takes on South Carolina (0-2) at 10 a.m., while Georgia faces Florida (2-0) at 4 p.m.

The Georgians got off to a quick start for the second game in a row, taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning off North Carolina starter Lexie Lester.

With Georgia still threatening with only one out in the inning, North Carolina manager Mark Anderson went to his bullpen early for right-hander Lillie Anderson. She worked the final 5-2/3 innings, allowing just three hits, to shut down Georgia and pick up the victory.

Trailing 4-1 in the third inning, North Carolina’s bats came alive. They loaded the bases with two outs in front of Nichols, who promptly drilled a line drive deep over the center fielder’s head. The ball rolled all the way to fence as Nichols hustled around the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam.

Nichols wasn’t done. In the fifth inning, she deposited another line drive over a Georgia outfielder for her second inside-the-park home run in as many at-bats. She led all players with five RBI.

After playing six innings and committing just a single error Thursday night, Georgia committed four errors against North Carolina.

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